Bible Top 1000

Peace On Earth?
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What are the two words you'll hear more often than any others in the Middle East? In Egypt, it's Salaam, meaning peace. The typical Muslim greeting is Salaam allekum, which means "peace to you." Christians use the same phrase, but with a shade of difference say Salaam ma'akum, "peace with you." The Israelis say Shalom, a biblical word meaning "peace, prosperity, well-being, and wholeness." It's used in greeting and in saying goodbye.

Peace is hard to come by these days in this part of the world. Violence and destruction are daily occurrences. The best efforts of politicians and military leaders seem only to complicate the process. As I share these thoughts, I'm once again in Egypt, and near the volcanic events in Israel and Palestine. It seems so strange to me that the world can be a virtual paradise if humans could just learn to live and let live. The beauty that surrounds us, the peace and tranquility, the niceties of service, and the flowing of the water toward the sea---all seem so quiet. It makes us forget, for a while, the problems created by the deadly spiral of violence.

Paul taught that true peace is an act of spiritual transformation, brought about by reconciliation with God. Ephesians 2:11-17 gives us a clear picture of God's plan for peace on earth.

First, Paul reminds us that we were "without Christ, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise."

Second, we "were without hope and without God in the world." I can't imagine a much more lost state than to be isolated from the very provisions of God for salvation and well-being in this life.

Third, Paul indicates that those who "were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace."

Finally, Paul declares that Christ has broken down the dividing wall of separation and hostility between Gentile and Jew "that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace."

Does that sound too good to be true? It's the glorious reality that Christ brought. In his final days with his followers he said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give it to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid" (John 17:27).

Let's go out today and demonstrate the peace of God. Let's be peacemakers, not troublemakers. Let's try to end the hostility between neighbors, strangers, and nations. And, above all else, let's have peace within our homes and with those nearest to us. If we have peaceful sanctuaries in our own homes and communities, we can go out to face a hostile world and be instruments of God's peace.

Gentle Ripples

O GOD, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee."
Psalm 63:1-3

Early in the morning, a lake is usually very still. No animals, no people, no noise, no boats. All is quiet.

This is the best time to skip rocks! By taking a small flat pebble and throwing it at the right angle, you can skip it across the water leaving circles of ripples as it makes contact with the lake's water. The ripples form small and very defined circles at first, then they spread out and break apart until they vanish. If several people skip rocks at the same time, the ripples cross over one another and make mini-waves across the lake. The impact can be quite amazing.

For most of us, mornings are filled with so many things that need our attention that we find it difficult to spend time alone with God. However, the Lord set a marvelous example for us by rising early to listen to God.

If we make no time for this quiet morning time with God, we often find there is also no time during our busy day. Then we end up going to bed with regret or guilt. Maybe tomorrow, we think. But many times, tomorrow never comes.

When we spend time alone with God at the beginning of each new day, we become acquainted with Him and start becoming like Him.

Throughout our days, the ripple effect of our time with God in the early morning will impact the lives of those with whom we have contact.

And when these ripples blend with others who spend time with God, we create mini-waves of love and joy. It all starts with a quiet time and a gentle ripple.

"Thus I will bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name." (verse 4)


It's not hard to be a Christian and fill a friendly pew,
where only friends surround you, and praise the things you do.

But God would have us share His Word with those who know Him not,
on darkened streets and avenues where sinners cast their lot.

Here dwell the non-believers, and those who haven't heard,
that Jesus Christ still loves them according to His word.

Here dwell the lost and lonely, the homeless and the proud,
who all like sheep have gone astray by following the crowd.
Here dwell the broken hearted, the abandoned and abused,
who've seen the "Sunday Christians" and walked away confused.

It's not hard to be a Christian and fill a friendly pew,
But after the benediction... Can Christ be found in you?