War and Peace (With Apologies to Leo) [Noval]

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You surround me with Your faithful love.  Revive me, Lord.  I don’t want to just ramble through the days, enjoying Your blessings, reveling in Your grace and not have a kingdom impact.  Pour out Your Spirit on Your servant!  Pour out a spirit of wisdom, counsel, power, humility and love.  Deliver me from the death of self-absorption and self-indulgence. 

The flesh profits nothing.  Come drink of the water of life, and it’ll come gushing back out of your innermost being.  Live, love, worship, serve, be of good cheer.  I’ve overcome the world. 

Thank You, Lord, for life, for provision, for the love of my bride, for the hope that’s in You, for the way You are blessing our children. 

I see a pastoral scene, like the beautiful one out of Joy’s kitchen window or from her back yard- rolling green hills, grazing cattle, gamboling calves.  Fluffy clouds drift lazily across the faded-denim sky.  It’s a great picture of serenity, prosperity, peace. 

It’s a picture of My kingdom.  Where My rule and authority are absolute, there is calm, order, beauty, prosperity and peace. Shalom.  I told the disciples that if they (and you) seek My kingdom first, I will add all of the material blessings needed for life. 

To seek My kingdom is to seek My loving rule, authority, discipline and order in all of life.  To make My values your values.  And what I value most of all are people.  I value them so much I spilled the blood of My Son to bring them peace, shalom, healing. 

To seek My kingdom is to love and value people the way I love and value people.  To seek peace and pursue it, as David put it in Psalm 34: do you want to love life and see good days?  Seek shalom and pursue it. Seek My kingdom.   

Shalom starts with you and Me, the fellowship we have one with another.  Then it extends outward to your bride, to your children and their mates, to your grandchildren, to your church family, to your neighbors, to your CCTC students, to your buddies you meet with on Monday, to your old work colleagues, to the people you serve at the food bank, to your email buddies. See, you have a Jerusalem, a Judea, a Samaria.  The fields are white; the opportunities are endless. 

[Note to our readers: the list above is somewhat specific to Noval and so might not mean so much to you.  But we encourage you to think in terms of your own circle of friends, family, acquaintances.  This is your network, your sphere of influence.  The Greek term is oikos , (yeah, like the yogurt) and it can be translated household, but it’s really broader than that. It’s the some total of everybody whose life you touch-everyone who could benefit from your smile, your touch, your kindness, your service.  If you give it some reflection, we bet you’ll discover it’s a pretty big group!]  

Lord, make me an agent of shalom.   

St. Francis’ prayer is a good one.  It should be on your heart and lips often. 

But of course, the world isn’t at peace. It’s occupied territory and death, war, oppression are everywhere, it seems. 

That’s true, but remember Paul’s admonition: the battle is first and foremost a spiritual one and it needs to be waged with spiritual weapons: fervent intercession, service, humility, good cheer, mercy and forgiveness.  This war will be fought and won, not with the sword or even the pen, but with the towel and basin.  Don’t get paralyzed by the magnitude of the need and suffering.  Remember Mother Theresa’s axiom: you light your candle in your little corner of the world.  You seek My kingdom, My shalom in your little sphere of influence, in your Jerusalem, and I’ll take care of Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. 

Well, that’s helpful and encouraging, Father.  It really is easy to feel overwhelmed by how far the darkness seems to extend. 

Where’s your faith? What did I tell you?  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overtaken it.  The most decisive battle’s already taken place.  The war’s already won.  Now it’s the job of you and all My people to declare, proclaim and enforce My kingdom, My shalom.  Don’t let the enemy of your soul tell you his side’s winning.  It isn’t true.

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