Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Seeds of Peace

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you will as well.

Well, it is the "day after" our presidential election. It may, or may not, have gone the way that you wanted it to. One thing we can count on however…God is still in control. He was not shocked by the results. He is the "Prince of Peace" and wants to pour peace into our lives. Let's talk about that peace today.

Peacemakers… plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness. (James 3:18 NLT)

If you want to witness a miracle, plant a seed and watch it fight its way through every obstacle to blossom. God refers to this principle when He says, "Peacemakers… plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness." During WWII when Europe was infected with anti-Semitism, an 11-year-old boy named Heinz learned about planting 'seeds of peace'. Confronted by Hitler's thugs who roamed the streets looking for trouble, Heinz didn't fight back or walk away. Instead, he witnessed firsthand how the tongue can create peace. Whenever a beating seemed inevitable, he used words to convince his enemy that fighting wasn't necessary. Years later, after his family escaped to America, Heinz's name became synonymous with peace negotiations. In fact he won the Nobel Peace Prize in l973! You may know him better as the former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. And even though he generally downplayed his earlier experiences, you have to wonder if his training started back on the streets of Europe.

While we don't read about Jesus settling many disputes, we know that He built bridges by bringing peace and healing hurts. He did it through acts of love like: (a) washing the feet of those who betrayed Him; (b) eating with a despised tax collector; (c) giving hope to a woman whom society had discarded. Words of peace are like seeds; they don't produce fruit overnight. But slowly, silently, they work under the surface changing hearts, minds, attitudes and futures. So, why don't you try sowing some seeds of peace today?

Dr Robert Oppenheimer, the noted physicist who masterminded the first atomic bomb, was asked by a Congressional committee if there was any defense against it. Addressing a hushed audience, Oppenheimer replied, "Yes. Peace!" Now think, if peace can diffuse an atomic bomb, what can it do in the lives of the people you come in contact with? The Bible says, "Peacemakers… plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness" (James 3:18 NLT). All around you are frightened, despairing, lonely people, desperately needing 'a word of peace'. Do you have one?

When the world was dark and God needed a miracle, He planted His seed in the womb of a Jewish girl. And it grew up, "like a tender green shoot, [pushing up through] dry… sterile ground." Jesus spent His life pushing back the rocks that threatened to destroy people: (a) Rocks of religion that over-burdened them. (b) Rocks of oppression that broke their spirit. (c) Rocks of prejudice that shut them out. And just when it seemed like the final rock was insurmountable, He broke through, victorious over death itself!

If you want to experience your own miracle today, try planting a seed of encouragement in the heart of somebody who's ready to throw in the towel. Speak a word of peace to that person whose life is in turmoil because of family problems, health issues or financial hardship. Anytime you 'plant seeds of peace', you schedule a harvest of hope, love and joy in the life of that person - and your own life too!

One of the most awesome commands that God gives to us is, 'be still.' The reason He says it so often is because our activity - when birthed out of the carnal mind - actually prevents Him from working on our behalf.

That doesn't mean you're to be passive or lazy. No, it just means that you're to do whatever He leads you to do - without running ahead of Him in your own energy!

It also means you're to submit everything to Him first, then slow down and wait! In other words, make sure you have a sense of peace to go along with the plans and ideas you believe He's given you.

Ask Him to show you His will for your life, then 'be still' and acknowledge that He's God… He's in charge… and He knows what He's doing!

It's pride, or fear, that makes you want to get behind the wheel, and determine the direction of your life. Acknowledge that. Pray about it. Learn to trust Him without always having to know what He's going to do, when He is going to do it, and how He's going to carry it out.

When He says to you, "Be still, and know that I am God," (Psalm 46:10). He's just saying that all you have to do is turn your heart toward Him in confidence, and He'll do what needs to be done. It's that simple. Blessings!

Pastor Rusty