Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘war’

Life or Death?

I like happy endings.  “Romeo and Juliet” is such a well-known and loved story, but it’s a tragedy, a story of death.  He thinks she is dead so he drinks poison.  Then she sees he is dead and kills herself.  Death is what our world seems to do best.  War, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, genocide, suicide, gang killings, and the list goes on.  The devil drives people to death.

But Jesus came to give us LIFE! 

He himself IS life—“I am the Way the Truth and the LIFE!” 

He grants us access to the water of LIFE–  “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  [It] will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) And when given a vision of heaven, the Apostle John saw “the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God…”  (Revelation 22:1)

His purpose in coming to earth was this:  “The thief comes only to steal and kill a and destroy; I have come so that they may have LIFE, and may have it abundantly.”  (John 10:10)

He took our death sentence in order to give us LIFE!  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal LIFE.”  (John 3:16)

He urges you to accept his invitation to LIFE:  “… I have set before you LIFE and death, blessings and curses. Now choose LIFE, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your LIFE…”  (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Which will you choose:  death from the devil or LIFE from the Lord—along with light, love, and so much more?  This will be the happy ending to your story!

Bring Me To Life by Bebo Norman
(Listen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wR6rABJP_48)

I am a barren land
And it’s all I can do to stand
I am thirsty, I am thirsty

Father, reach out Your hand
I have given all that I can
Still I’m sinking, I’m still sinking

I want to run into the deep
And let the deep call out to me
I want to lose myself in Your love

So let it rain down over me
As I fall down to my knees
Let the ocean rise to meet me
I need You to bring me to life

Well of eternal things
Endless is all the life You bring
Be the water that I long for

And show me Your Kingdom Come
Father and let Your will be done
Here in me as it is in Heaven

Tools or Weapons?

Within a half hour of reading in the minor prophets (those short books at the end of the Old Testament) I came across these two verses that seem to contradict each other:

Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears..” (Joel 3:10 NIV)

“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks..” (Micah 4:3, also Isaiah 2:4)

https://i1.wp.com/farm4.staticflickr.com/3494/3295229078_d782b6b813_o.jpg

I am told that in that day, people could and actually did convert these tools into weapons and vice versa, depending on whether it was a time of peace or war. 

With that insight and looking at the context of these two verses, we see that Joel is warning Israel’s enemies to get ready for the war that God will wage against them.

On the other hand, Micah is describing the state of eternal peace that will be inaugurated when God finally rules all nations and hearts without rival.

God’s arrival can mean disaster or peace, depending on whether we’re on His side or not.  Which side are you on?  Are you looking forward to His direct intervention in world history or dreading it? 

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.  But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
     Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.  (2 Peter 3:9-13 NLT)

Peace and the Prophet

God’s chosen nation was collapsing from the moral vacuum caused by rebellion against God and corruption in leadership. And on the outside, Nebuchadnezzar’s army was attacking.  God’s patience had finally run out.

Jeremiah was God’s man on the scene.  A dozen times in his book he debunks the false prophets’ repeated assurances that all would be well.  Like this in chapter 14:

13 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, their prophets are telling them, ‘All is well—no war or famine will come. The LORD will surely send you peace.’ ”

14 Then the LORD said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts.

But there is hope of peace after the punishment has been endured and the hard lessons have been learned.  Peace on God’s terms necessarily involves cleansing from sin and rebellion.  But wow, the benefits are out of this world!

“The time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth!  Jeremiah 33:6-8

What kind of peace are we looking for in our world and our lives? 
A fragile peace on this earth, IF nations and individuals can solve their differences and piece back together shattered economies? 
Or the true and lasting peace that comes only by turning to God and accepting it on His terms?

 

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