Wednesday, 16 November 2016


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. ~ John 14:27

Home. After a brush with the hot and hungry city, we arrived at our cabin in the breezy mountains, with deep sighs of relief. And once again, with a renewed appreciation of what we have here. But with nostalgic memories of special times with loved ones. Sleep evaded me while there, and it was hard to find silence and peace - even in the dead of night. I was confronted with myself in a way which is easily avoided when you are surrounded by mountains, forests and wide open vistas.

Yesterday, I read the editorial in the latest edition of "Barnabasaid" - a publication by "Barnabas Fund", which is an aid agency for the persecuted church. Bringing hope to suffering Christians worldwide. The editorial touched on the topic "The Peace of God." I felt that I needed to explore the reason for either the presence or absence of it in my own life. (Part of what I wrote is based on the content of the editorial mentioned.)

The English word for "peace", brings to mind the absence of disturbance and hostilities, of internal or external strife. But the Biblical concept of peace is far more dynamic and all embracing. The Hebrew "shalom" of the Old Testament means completeness and wholeness, well-being and safety. It can mean wholeness of body (health); wholeness of relationships (harmony between two parties); prosperity, fulfilment and success; or victory over enemies (absence of war). In the New Testament, the narrower Greek word "eirene", takes on the broader nuances of shalom.

The bible confirms that God alone, is the source of peace. He came to sinful humankind to establish with them a covenant of peace, enabling us to have a right relationship with Him.

New Age philosophies and alternative religious cultures have made "peace" into something you have a right to. A brand, something you speak over yourself and others, and which can be attained by a mind-set, exterior means, rituals or substances.

There is a place in the South Indian city of Bangalore, in a depressed community among the weak and despised, where the Peace of God is at work. In this place, babies are rescued from child sacrifices to pagan gods. In this place girls are rescued from child prostitution. In this place, bodily ailments are treated, minds are educated, families are given security and well-being through economic self-sufficiency. In this place the reconciling peace of God is made known by word and deed, resulting in a new community of believers, saved for the Kingdom and glory of God through Jesus. It has grown and created more centres of love and compassion. It is a place of worship, a place where the true fullness of God's peace is to be found. A place which reflects the true "shalom" of God. Where the weak and despised are cared for and embraced. Where God's love transcends hatred, bitterness and judgement.

In Christ and through servitude to Christ and fellow-man, such a peace can be be found. The old Testament looks forward to the day when God's peace will be transmitted to us through the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, whose authority will grow continually, until there is endless peace and His Kingdom is established with justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9:6-7, Micah 5:4-5).

It is the Prince of Peace who comes. How can I keep from singing:

Hail! the heav'n born Prince of peace!
Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen, with healing in His wings.

In a time, when there is such conflict - against Christians especially, but also among Christians, among families, individuals, countries, politicians, theologians etc - I am reminded that not only has my Prince of Peace brought salvation, healing and wholeness, but He has also brought victory over Satan and all the evils of this dark and sinful world. Over the sin in my own heart. "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Romans 16:20).

Because of this - I can live in the peace of God, knowing that by it I am not only saved from sin and made whole in my being, but also will triumph over Satan.

So - whether the outward events and circumstances of my life are peaceful or in turmoil, my soul may continue to rest in the well-being of  "shalom".

Take heart saints - The maddening crowd, cannot crush you. The hype and busyness of this time of year, cannot overcome you. The deafening noise, cannot drown out your worship. The prince of lies cannot deceive you or steal your peace, joy and victory, when the Prince of Peace reigns in your heart.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say:

It is well. It is well with my soul!