Sowing the Seeds of Peace

White Cala Lilies

White Cala Lilies (Photo credit: Roger Isabell)

 

Read James 3:18

 

The seed pod of milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

The seed pod of milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I struggled this weekend with this question; “If I sow seeds in a peaceful way, but I do not “feel” the peace within me does it mean that the fruit will not be righteous? Does it still count as me making peace?” I asked God if that made me a hypocrite. This led me to James 3; now my understanding here is that hypocrisy comes when we “pretend” to do something. I didn’t pretend to sow the seeds in peace; I actually sowed seeds in peace. I didn’t fake this peace, I want this peace, but none the less I did not “feel” the peace in my heart.
It’s hard for someone to be hateful to you when you come with an olive branch, (note that I did not say impossible), but hard. I know all too well what it is to “make” peace, but not “feel” peace. It’s hard, one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. I am a person who believes in justice and accountability. Sometimes this gets in the way of making peace for me. I don’t purpose that I have all or even a fraction of the answers. What I do know is that even if I don’t “feel” at peace with the seeds that I am sowing;  I am doing the right thing because I am not following my flesh but rather I am following the example that Jesus left for me.
The outcome that we are looking for when we sow seeds for God is righteousness. We know this because that is what this verse says. It tells us what the “fruit” of the seed is. How are we to “sow” the seed? In peace. And how can we do that? By “making” peace.
What does it mean to “make” peace? The word making is an action, it means to develop or evolve. Peace doesn’t just happen; we “make” it happen. We do this when we choose to overlook the sins of others, we do this when we choose to forgive, and we do this when we choose to do the right thing even when it doesn’t “feel” right to our flesh.
If we look at the 5 verses preceding this one it tells us what wisdom is and isn’t. Wisdom is the ability to be able to regulate circumstances in prudence towards others. If we “make” peace but we do it for selfish reasons than the fruit of that seed will not be righteousness. If we make peace because we are jealous in our hearts the fruit will not be righteousness. We make peace when, despite how we feel about someone or some circumstance, we do what Jesus would do.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…

 

 

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How Do We Triumph When We Have A Thorn In the Flesh

1.    We stand firm. We do not move to the left, nor to the right. We keep our faith. We know what is right and therefore we must stand for what is right. When we are pressed down and shaken out let’s be sure that what is left is pure gold worthy of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
2.    We rejoice. Satan will only spend extra time on you if you are a threat to him. This is a good thing, not the suffering, but the fact that you are a threat to him, this means that you are walking right and producing fruit for the harvest of souls for Christ.
3.    Let God use this time to create in you a clean heart. Sometimes God allows trials and sufferings in our lives because we need to change something within ourselves. For some of us change can only come when we are pressed down and shaken out. For some of us (like Paul) we need to be kept humble and the only way for that to happen is by having a thorn in the flesh to remind us that it is God at work in us, around us, and through us.
When you are facing troubles I want you to do four things;
STOP! LOOK! LISTEN! GO!
•    Stop: Try to see the will of God in every situation. Is He trying to use this time to grow you? Is He allowing this situation to occur so that you will change? Is He allowing this situation so that you will be humbled?
•    Look: At your life and what is going on. Are you innocent for the present trouble, or do you need to seek forgiveness and repentance? Look with a true and honest heart and spirit at the circumstances and test and try yourself to be sure that there is nothing that you have done. God is holy and just to forgive.
•    Listen: To the promptings of the Holy Spirit. God will use every situation, every circumstance, every trial, and every suffering to help us grow. He will use all of the negative that Satan throws our way to His glory if we are willing to stand in a godly manner (see my blog on; God does not promise to give us more than we can handle…), He promises to give us this escape to be able to endure.
      Now go forth, prepare your heart; your worship; your thanksgiving; your testimony; your mind; prepare yourself for change; for learning; for growing; prepare yourself to be honest.
     

 

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, ...

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Prepare yourself to be torn and put back together with a renewed spirit and a clean heart. Be teachable, moldable, and mendable. Because if you cannot be taught than you cannot change, if you cannot be molded than God cannot help you become what He wants you to be, if you cannot be mended than God cannot fix what is broken and you will never be whole in Him. So prepare yourself for change during times of trouble and suffering. You don’t know what God has in store for you when you come out the other side.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…

 

 

 

 

 

How To Triumph Over Problems If You Have Walked Outside Of The Will Of God

 

1.    Repent. This is easier said than done, I know. If your sin has caused others to stumble ask for forgiveness. But also be ready to accept God’s forgiveness for yourself when you repent and ask Him to forgive you. Remember, God always forgives a truly repentant person, humans may not. This is not your battle to win, accept that if you have done the right thing and asked another for forgiveness you cannot make them forgive you.
2.    Rend your HEART and NOT your GARMENT (Joel 2:13). This is true repentance. To rend your garment (tear) is a public display of your sorrow, grief, etc.; but to rend your heart is a private matter that is done before God. He alone knows when a person is truly repentant (rending their heart) or just putting on a show (rending their garment). Be sure that when you ask God for forgiveness, when you ask another for forgiveness, that you are doing it from a changed heart. True repentance leads to changed behavior.
3.    Confess your sins. Confess them to God, confess them to yourselves and confess them to a godly person that will hold you accountable. Confession is hard because it calls to light those parts of us that we want to keep in the darkness. But when we confess our sins we own them, rather than them owing us. Confession is God’s plan for our freedom from the flesh. Without confession of sin we are slaves to our own flesh. This happens because we want to protect the sin; because if people know then we may be judged, and no one likes to be judged. After a time we condition ourselves to justifying the sin. Now the sin owns us, and it is our master. Confession brings about the freedom that we long for as believers. It allows us to conquer the flesh and its demands.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…

 

 

 

How Does Jesus Fit Into Your Problems?

How Does Jesus Fit Into Your Problems?
    When problems arise there are things, as Christians, that we must do to overcome them.
1.    Ask yourself where does Jesus fit into the problem?
Am I relying on His strength and teachings in my life to get through this; or am I relying on my own wisdom?
A.    Am I being persecuted because of my faith?
If the answer is yes, than rejoice! You are a threat to the devil and he is trying to stop you!
B.    Did I walk outside of God’s will?
If the answer is yes, then repent! Be honest with yourself and God and tell Him that you are a sinner that needs saving, mercy, grace and forgiveness every single second of every day.
C.    Is God allowing this situation to grow me?
This is a tough one for all people. We do not want to be uncomfortable. We do not like to be called out of our comfort zones. But if we are not growing then we are not active in our faith. Growing pains are a normal part of being a Christian if you are doing it right. Remember, no one wants to get water from a stagnant spring.
2.    Where does scripture fit into your problem?
Are you seeking guidance from the Bible or are you looking to the world for the answer to your problem?
A.    If you are being persecuted for your faith then get into the word. The Bible has the answer for every single problem you will ever face. Test this and see if it is not true!
B.    If you are suffering because of sin, find out what the Bible has to say and apply it to your life. Be obedient and honest in this situation, so you can receive God’s blessings.
C.    Paul talks about having a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7) so that he would be kept humble. Seek God’s wisdom and see if He is not using this situation to grow you into a more mature Christian. He uses trials of all kinds to help us become better warriors for His Kingdom.
Open your Bible and read Job, read the crucifixion account again. We are called to be warriors, we are called to be strong and to suffer for the Lord’s sake. The Bible tells us to rejoice in these times (Romans 5:3 “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” (NLT)). To me the key advice that I can give to anyone that comes to me when they are suffering trials is to encourage them with words that God spoke to me years ago…
The devil must think that you are a threat to his kingdom if he is attacking you. So rejoice and stand firm because you are doing my will and I will bless you.
We do not serve a selfish and hurtful God. Rather, He is merciful and gracious to our sufferings. If we face trouble, He comforts us. He has given us a guide book for every single thing that we will ever encounter. AND He tells us how to overcome every single obstacle!
3.    How do people fit into your problems?
Are we fighting people? Because the Bible tells us that our battle is not with them, but rather the evil that is in this world that uses people.
A.    There are people that will target you because of your faith. You will be held to a different standard in this world. As Christians we say that we want to be set apart from the world. But the truth is, when we are called out for doing what the world around us does we get upset. Unless of course it’s for praise. We all struggle with this. We try to walk the fence, one side in the word and one side in the world. This is not how we should be. We are to live blameless lives before God and this world. If I act like the world than I am part of it. How can I be a witness for the holiness of God if I am carrying on like everyone else? I can’t!
So how do you overcome this? How do you handle these people that come at you because of your faith? Don’t just throw around the rubber stamp answer like “Pray”, “Read the word”, or  “Stand fast”. Apply them! If you say that you are going to seek God and His will then stop right then and do it! I understand that sometimes you may be in a place where it does not seem possible. But prayer is ALWAYS possible no matter where you are or what you are going through. Prayer does not have to be pomp and circumstance.
 It has to be from your heart, a broken and humble heart. Matt. 6:5-8 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (NIV). James 4:3 “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong–you want only what will give you pleasure.” (NLT).
 It is when we have deep awe and respect for God that He listens to us. Is. 29:13 “And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.” (NLT)
Let Jesus be the solution to all your problems. You may not get immediate answers or comfort, but He promises us that if we will ask according to His will that He will comfort us in His time. Until then we must stand firm and believe that God knows what He is doing.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…