Thursday, November 7, 2013

Trying to discover peace in our world (Romans 14:19)

SCRIPTURE: Romans 14:19 (TM)
So let's agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words.

In 1555, Nicholas Ridley was burned at the stake because of his witness for Christ. On the night before Ridley's execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison chamber to be of assistance and comfort. Nicholas declined the offer and replied that he meant to go to bed and sleep as quietly as ever he did in his life. Because he knew the peace of God, he could rest in the strength of the everlasting arms of his Lord to meet his need. So can we!

We live in troubled times. On the surface it would seem that today is worse than it has ever been. But here is some sobering information that was discovered by a former president of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and historians from England, Egypt, Germany, and India: Since 3600 B.C. the world has known only 292 years of peace! During this period there have been 14,351 wars, large and small, in which 3.64 billion people have been killed. The value of the property destroyed would pay for a golden belt around the world 97.2 miles wide and 33 feet thick. Since 650 B.C. there have also been 1656 arms races, only 16 of which have not ended in war. The remainder ended in the economic collapse of the countries involved. I’m not sure when this study was completed, but I’m sure that those numbers would be much larger what with the violence that is spreading across the face of the world in 2013.

The power of getting along, having a “peace of mind” defined as having emotional and mental stability, was illustrated by a study done at Duke University some time ago:
1) the absence of suspicion and resentment. Nursing a grudge was a major factor in unhappiness.
2) Not living in the past. An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression.
3) Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change. Cooperate with life, instead of trying to run away from it.
4) Force yourself to stay involved with the living world. Resist the temptation to withdraw and become reclusive during periods of emotional stress.
5) Refuse to indulge in self-pity when life hands you a raw deal. Accept the fact that nobody gets through life without some sorrow and misfortune.
6) Cultivate the old-fashioned virtues--love, humor, compassion and loyalty.
7) Do not expect too much of yourself. When there is too wide a gap between self-expectation and your ability to meet the goals you have set, feelings of inadequacy are inevitable.
8) Find something bigger than yourself to believe in. Self-centered egotistical people score lowest in any test for measuring happiness.
As long as there is an absence of personal internal peace the world in which we live will be at odds with itself. Number 8 is the key to the other 7 – and this “something bigger than yourself” is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit.
We can try to find other “bigger than yourself” ideas or concepts, but they all pale next to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, in the long run all those “other” ideas and concepts will be found lacking in power. Just give them time.
I wonder what would really happen in this life if all those who profess a faith in God through Jesus Christ would actually start living into that reality instead of relying on political parties or the military establishments or financial security to bring about that one thing we all long for – PEACE? Just wondering…

Gracious and loving God, we seek peace, we long for peace, we say we are working for peace… but a casual look at our life says something totally different. Help us to bring the reality of life to the truth of your Way… the only way to true peace.

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