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Posts tagged ‘Peace’

For Now, I’ve No Political Ambition –Al-Mustapha.


The former Chief Security Officer of late General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha has dismissed insinuations linking him politics saying for now, he is not interested in political positions but to help in fostering peace and unity in some troubled states.

Hamza-al-Mustapha

Hamza-al-Mustapha

Al-Mustapha stated this while addressing newsmen shortly after he paid a courtesy visit to the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, at his palace in Kano.

According to him, his recent visit to some troubled areas across the country was to ensure peace and unity, adding “many organisations and associations actually contacted me with invitations that took me there.”

His words: “I did it with a view to putting a helping hand. Right from 1984, I found it mandatory to help associations in support of peace and unity and now that God has granted me freedom, I cannot say no.

“We have opened ground for reconciliation to many tribes and communities and we hope it will add colours towards achieving peace, unity and development in the country.

“To us, the background we have is that of a country solidly united, where hopes and confidence of the people are fully restored and anchored upon progress and development.

“We are looking for a country that is firmly rooted with the God’s given resources and given the direction and taking giant strides in Africa for development and progress.”

“I have not decided to venture into politics now and I have not been invited into that direction.”

Source: African Examiner.

Changing the human heart…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body, you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” 
Colossians 3:15

The world that Jesus was born into was quite violent. War was constantly in the air. The Israelites, the Jewish people who were occupied by the Romans, were talking constantly about rebelling against the most powerful and ruthless empire at that time in history. There was injustice and many hurting and broken people. Ironically, religious leaders often hurt the very people that they were supposed to help. So, Jesus enters into this world to bring peace.

I wonder, now, do we live in a peaceful place now that Jesus has come? Even if there were no North Korea launching missiles, no Arab Spring, no political differences, would we, then, have peace?

Do people live in peace, today, surrounded by others but still lonely, constantly living in fear, living paycheck-to-paycheck, working jobs they don’t like, with cell phones ringing and in-boxes full, living in what Thoreau called “quiet desperation”?
Those things won’t change until we change. Jesus came to change human hearts because he knew that, if people had peace on the inside, there would then be peace everywhere else.

This Christmas, remember that Jesus came to be our Prince of Peace.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for filling my heart with a peace that passes understanding. Help me to be authentically peaceful and, thereby, an example of your peace to others. Amen.

Devotion: How might you, through encouragement or example, bring peace to the hearts of others?

Be shalom…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“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, whose birth we have been celebrating. 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 we 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?

No greater cure….


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.”
-Psalm 29:11

There is something in my life that I treasure more than any other thing. I treasure this one thing – that God loved me before I was born. Before I was born, God was looking forward to me being born. He was excited about the fact that I was born and that I live in this world.

That’s how God feels about you, too. When your mother was pregnant with you, God was thinking, “I can’t wait until this baby is born. And I can’t wait to have a personal relationship with this new life.” A proud, loving, and good Father, the Lord sees in you what nobody else can see, believes in you when nobody else believes, and loves you to an extent that cannot end.

The apostle Paul tells us that our suffering turns into perseverance, and our perseverance turns to character, and our character turns to hope. That happens because the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, is injected into our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no greater cure to all of the ills, all the turmoil in the world around us, than the human heart being brought to a peaceful shalom place because of the love of God.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for loving me from the very moment I was conceived. Through your love, I feel a peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

Devotion: How does God’s love for you bring you peace?

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?

{ Day 331 }.


I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands. I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you. —Psalm 119:166-168

We stumble over the fact that God doesn’t speak or act the way we think He should. But from Isaiah we learn not to manufacture our own light when we walk in darkness. From Saul we learn not to run ahead of God when the answer is delayed. From the Gospels we learn that God’s silence does not mean we are rejected or unloved; it must be understood in the light of God’s redemptive purposes. For those who have allowed the Holy Spirit to perform His work in their lives, the “Why, God?” questions are accompanied by a growing peace and trust rather than disillusionment and unbelief. God wants us to learn to be at peace in our souls by virtue of our relationship with Him, not by virtue of the information about our circumstances that we sometimes receive from Him. People searching for God’s peace and comfort often look for it by asking God for information about their future. But He wants our peace to come first by fixing any problems in our personal relationship with Him.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, how often I run ahead of You and question, “Why?” Teach me to be at peace with Your purposes because of the trusting relationship I have with You.

Our “Why, God?” questions are a normal
part of the walk of faith for all
of us until the very end.

By MIKE BICKLE.

Karzai Pulls Last Minute Switch as Afghan Elders Back US Pact.


Image: Karzai Pulls Last Minute Switch as Afghan Elders Back US Pact

KABUL, Afghanistan  — An assembly of Afghan elders endorsed a crucial security deal on Sunday to enable U.S. troops to operate in the country beyond next year, but President Hamid Karzai left the matter up in the air by refusing to say whether he would sign it into law.

The gathering, known as the Loya Jirga, had been convened by the president to debate the pact which outlines the legal terms of continued U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. It voted in favor and advised Karzai sign it promptly.
But Karzai, in his final remarks to the four-day meeting, said he would not sign it until after a presidential election due next April.
“If there is no peace, then this agreement will bring misfortune to Afghanistan,” he said. “Peace is our precondition. America should bring us peace and then we will sign it.”
The president did not elaborate, but has previously said a free and fair vote is needed to guarantee peace in the country and his spokesman later said Karzai had not changed his mind.
As the meeting ended, assembly chairman Sibghatullah Mojeddedi told Karzai: “If you don’t sign it, we will be disappointed.” Karzai responded “Fine!” and left the stage.
Failure to clinch the deal could mean a full U.S. pullout, leaving Afghanistan to fight the Taliban insurgency on its own. U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan since leading a drive to remove the Taliban in late 2001.
U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, said the deal must be signed by year-end to begin preparations for a post-2014 presence.The Taliban condemned the endorsement of the security agreement, calling it a “pact of slavery.” The militants said in a statement the deal would benefit neither side.

In his remarks, Karzai acknowledged there was little trust between him and U.S. leaders while saying signing the pact was broadly in Afghanistan’s interests. Backing from the Jirga, handpicked by his administration, had been widely expected.
Most speakers were muted in their criticism of the thorniest issues in the document, including a U.S. request for immunity for its troops from Afghan law.
Critics say Karzai’s recalcitrance on the date might reflect his desire to distance himself from any deal with the United States and avoid speculation that he has sold out to the West.
A former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ronald Neumann, said Karzai is known to use 11th hour demands to press for concessions from the United States during negotiations.
“He has to be the one . . . to sign off on this loss of Afghan sovereignty. He knows intellectually that this is in Afghanistan’s interest, but at the same time it’s distasteful to him,” Neumann said.
HE’S DONE IT AGAIN
The deal took a year to bash out and Karzai’s about face threw the entire process into doubt just hours after both sides announced they had agreed on its terms.
Even in Afghanistan, where some view the security agreement with the United States with contempt, many officials were unsettled.
Some believe Karzai is simply concerned that the United States and other Western countries may attempt to interfere in next year’s presidential election. Having served two terms, he is ineligible to run again.
By withholding his signature until after the vote, Karzai could also use ratification as leverage to ensure the United States does not try to back a candidate not to his liking.
Opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah, who dropped out of a run-off against Karzai in the 2009 elections, citing concerns about fraud, was among those who shared this suspicion.
“What he is asking for is a guarantee about the elections and most probably his favorite candidate,” Abdullah told Reuters.
Karzai accused the international community of meddling during the 2009 election that he won, saying they had tried to encourage Afghans to vote for an opposition candidate.
Others were concerned that Karzai’s reluctance to sign the agreement could jeopardize Afghanistan’s relations with its international allies and its economic future.
“If we keep talking about signing the agreement after the election, we will lose our biggest ally,” said Freshta Amini, an MP from southwestern Nimroz province. But some Loya Jirga members supported Karzai’s comment about delaying ratification.
“If the Americans want to sign this pact with Afghanistan, then they should also respect our demands for a transparent election, and peace and security in the country,” said Farid Alokozai, provincial council chief in Wardak, outside Kabul.
One cabinet minister close to Karzai said many members of the president’s team were unhappy with his decision.
“There are people who want this pact to be signed immediately after the Loya Jirga. But there are spoilers too, who have a lot of influence over the president.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Do You Really Want God’s Will or Your Own?.


Do You Really Want God's Will or Your Own?

Not long ago, a friend of mine made a major decision that eventually led to the breakup of his family. I spoke with the friend about the wrong thinking that was controlling his actions. His reply was the common Christian retort: “Well, I’ve prayed, and I have peace about it.”

I was shocked by his response. I could not see how a mature believer could claim, that as an answer to prayers for wisdom needed in a tough situation, the Lord had supplied “peace” toward a course of action that was in contradiction to the Scriptures.

The Lord intends for believers to enjoy peace in many areas. Christ, through his death and resurrection, removes God’s enmity with us—we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). In Christ, the Lord destroyed barriers that limited fellowship between Jew and Gentiles—he provided peace—making believers of every race “one new man” in Christ (Eph. 2:14-15). Christ desires believers to minimize conflicts within a local assembly, sharing in one mind about the ministry—working together in peace (Phil. 4:2).

Also, our Lord offers to provide supernatural relief from anxieties to those who seek him in prayer: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7). But this promise is often wrongly used as a way to feel a sense of “peace” about what one has determined for himself to be the will of God.

Is it just me, or is it rare to meet believers who claim to have peace about decisions that would lead to enduring pain? Even fewer people seem to have peace about serving a poorly resourced ministry, or sharing one’s faith boldly at risk of social ostracism. I have served young adults who claimed “peace” about moving in with their parents when they are experiencing financial hardship. However, they do not have peace about getting a better job to offset the family’s budget expansion created by their return.

It would be a precious thing to meet the church leader, who, when asked to step down from leading, will return and say, “I have prayed, and I have peace about it. If someone else would be a better leader, then I will step down.” Instead, many tend to appeal to having peace about stepping down only when ministry hits a rough spot, and when leaving will insert a harmful discontinuity to the church. Could it be that the “peace” we claim from on the basis of Philippians 4:7 is merely us settling on the desires that are most agreeable with us?

We impose the notion of “God’s peace” on these desires (even when they contradict Scripture) because they will lead to the absence of pain. God’s will, in contrast, tends to involve harder paths that demand suffering and endurance.

I once asked a married couple to consider serving in the ministry to children. Within two days they returned to me with the “we-prayed-we-have-peace” mantra. When I explored their reasoning, they could not explain how they came to have such peace. They had the time, gifts, and abilities to serve. Ministry to the children, however, involved great sacrifice and yielded little prestige. Sadly, when asked by another person to serve in a position of church governance, this couple had peace, noting, “God would want us to lead others.” Aren’t children “others?”

Pastorally, allow me to recommend three ways to avoid confusion between our own desired outcomes and the will of God:

First, we should run our thoughts past the spiritual leaders responsible for our souls (cf. 1 Thess. 5:12Heb. 13:17). Those who are faithful in their stewardship of shepherding are able to bring a perspective we have not considered because the thought of pain hinders us. Godly shepherds, elders, teachers, and parents have a responsibility to speak into our lives everything that is right.

Second, related to the first, we should seek out the voices of mature friends rather than either of the voices of immature friends or unbelievers whose lives seem to be fairing better than ours. When a marriage struggles with intimacy, it is easy to envy the friend who left his marriage and appears to be happy in an adulterous relationship. This type of friend cannot be a measure for determining the will of God, because he is living in sin. Rather, the Christian friend enduring a less-than-perfect-marriage with joy is the one you should seek. We should go to such friends and share the depth of our suffering so that they can walk with us through our trials.

Third, remind yourself that whenever we are in pain, we want to be free from pain, and that desire affects how we “hear” the voice of God. Some of the essential things needed for the free-from-anxiety-peace of Philippians 4:7 are truthfulness, and the abilities to both commend the decision to others and offer praise to the Lord for the decision: “Whatever is true… whatever is commendable… if there is anything worthy of praise… and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9). If we do not hold our decisions to these standards, we are not being honest about having peace.

Our Lord Jesus, with a full understanding of the wrath facing him at the Cross, came to a settled decision in prayer: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Mt. 26:42). By embracing suffering rather than letting it be the missing piece in determining God’s will, he was able to provide us the peace we need to endure our trials as the will of God.

Eric C. Redmond

Eric C. Redmond is Executive Pastoral Assistant and Bible Professor in Residence at New Canaan Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He blogs at “A Man from Issachar.” You can follow him on Twitter @ericcredmond.

Faith Building Bible Verses.


Inspirational Bible Verses to Fortify Your Faith

The Bible says in 2 Peter 1:3 that as we grow in our knowledge of God, through his divine power he gives us everything we need for life and godliness. Jesus relied on the Word of God alone to overcome obstacles, including the devil. God’s Word is alive and powerful (Hebrews 4:12), useful for correcting us when we are wrong and teaching us what is right (2 Timothy 3:16). So, it makes sense for us to carry God’s Word in our hearts through memorization, to be ready to face any problem, every difficulty, and whatsoever challenge that life can send our way.

Faith Building Bible Verses

Presented here are a number of problems, difficulties and challenges that we face in life, along with corresponding answers from God’s Word:

Anxiety

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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)

      • More on

Anxiety

Brokenhearted

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

      Psalm 34:18

(NASB)

Confusion

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace … 

      1 Corinthians 14:33

(NKJV)

Defeat

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair … 

    2 Corinthians 4:8 (NIV)

Disappointment

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

      Romans 8:28

(NLT)

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Disappointment

Doubt

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Matthew 17:20

    (NIV)

Failure

The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.

    Proverbs 24:16 (NLT)

Fear

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

      2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
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Fear

Grief

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

       (NIV)

• Read Psalm 23 in several popular translations.

Hunger

Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:4

    (NIV)

Impatience

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

      Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

• More on Patience

Impossibilities

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

      Luke 18:27 (NIV)
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Postive Thinking

Inability

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

     (NIV)

Inadequacy

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

       (NIV)
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Feelings of Inadequacy

Lacking Direction

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

      Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
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Seeking Direction

Lacking Intelligence

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

    James 1:5 (NIV)

Lacking Wisdom

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

      1 Corinthians 1:30 (NIV)
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Wisdom

Loneliness

… the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

      Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
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Loneliness

Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 

    Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

Poverty

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

    Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)

Rejection

No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Romans 8:39 (NIV)

Sorrow

I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.

    Jeremiah 31:13 (NASB)

Temptation

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

      1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
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Temptation

Tiredness

… but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

    Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

Unforgiveness

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

      Romans 8:1 (NLT)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (NIV)

• More on Unforgiveness

Unloved

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!

    1 John 3:1 (NLT)

Weakness

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

    2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Weariness

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

    Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

Worry

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

        1 Peter 5:7(NLT)
        By

        , About.com Guide

EU launches N960m peace initiative in Plateau.


EU Flag

The European Union yesterday stepped up peace efforts in Plateau State with the launch of a N960 million programme.

The programme, which will be implemented by three organisations , including Apurimac Onlus, Deutsche Gesellechaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Search for Common Ground, is to be implemented in the 17 local government Areas of the state.

Speaking at the launch of the programme held yesterday at the Crest Hotel in Jos, the leader of EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Alan Monday, said: “This programme aims at contributing to peace-building and conflict prevention efforts in Plateau State by strengthening the mechanisms of conflict resolution and fighting youth unemployment.

“It will support confidence building mediation and reconciliation initiatives between communities in order to reduce the level of violence and strengthen peaceful coexistence among communities.

“Essentially, the programme aims at addressing both the consequences and the root cause of the conflict in Plateau State while calling on the citizens to support the project in order to achieve the objectives.”

He added: Our expectation in the peace process in Plateau State is very high. We want to make a genuine contribution to a positive change in the lives of the people of the state. We wish to make a difference. We want to contribute to laying the foundation for a long lasting peace and prosperity.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

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