PEACE, REAL PEACE

 

Micah 4:3
He shall judge between many peoples,
And rebuke strong nations afar off;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;

Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
But everyone shall sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid;

In 1918 on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at eleven oíclock an Armistice was signed. Americaís involvement in this war was about 15 months, during that time over 116,000 young American men died and over 200,000 were wounded.

One million American men became veterans because of that conflict. Much of the world suffered even more. In 1918 the war that was to end all wars was at last over, the Armistice, an agreement to cease all hostilities, was signed.

There was dancing in the streets.

Later, in 1921 a war memorial to the unknown soldier was established in Virginia and a young American Ė his name known only to God Ė was buried there. In 1938 Armistice Day became a national holiday.

We might still be calling it the day hostilities ceased if World War I had indeed been the war to end all wars, but then came World War II and the dream ended.

World War II created over 16 million American Veterans of whom over 400,000 died and nearly 672,000 were wounded. Many of the wounded young bodies were so badly mutilated that they never again walked, talked, or saw the faces of loved ones.

On May 8th of 1945 Germany surrendered and we all breathed a small sigh of relief. Then on Sept. 2nd V J day came and again there was dancing in the streets.

Since that time we have been involved in 4 major conflicts and many so called minor conflicts which have been called U.N. peace keeping missions. These conflicts have created more veterans ó more wounded, and more dead.

The dancing in the streets has ceased and still there are wars and rumors of wars.

I am old enough to remember the gold stars placed in windows during World War II that signified the death of a loved one. I have often thought that during the last 50 some years, every home in Israel must be eligible to display such a star.

My husband is a veteran, our daughter and 3 of our sons are veterans. Most of you have experienced the going of or the sending of some one dear to you.

Freedom is costly, Servicemen and Women, Veterans and their families have paid dearly. Their selfless service has made our nation stronger and the world a better place to live.

November 11, Veterans Day, the day in which America pauses for a very brief time to honor those who have served. We pause for just a few moments to say thank you to our Veterans.

Then unless we are a part of the group that has a loved one in the midst of war. We turn our attention to the affairs of everyday life longing for peace in the moment of time in which we are involved.

We all long for peace, not only in the world but for our lives. One day Jesus will return and there will be peace in the world and everyone will take thought for their neighbors but until then we crave peace in our own little part of the world. I started thinking about the way peace comes and my thoughts went to Ďwhere does it begin.í We sing let it begin with me, but I wonder if we really mean it.

Peace, real peace, comes from God. So when does peace begin? For me it began April 11, 1961 at roughly 7:30 in the evening. That was the moment when hostilities ceased between me and God. It was then that I began to learn that loving your neighbor as you love yourself implied that I had to like me. That was the evening that God began to show me that unfailing courtesy was a big part of His plan for the earth.

Little by little scripture began to unfold in my life that let me see that each of us are meant to be the center of peace for all the world around us. Where does all this peace we are to dispense come from?

Can you define the word peace? Children asleep, house in order....no arguments...money enough to pay bills...secure income....health....friends.....many ways to define, but that is not the peace that passes all understanding.

Many years ago I heard a song that described turmoil and what to do about it.

The sea of life is raging, the storms clouds round me roll.
Iím tossed about in turmoil and itís growing very cold.
By myself Iíll never make it, but this one thing I know
When I speak the name of Jesus the storms clouds have to go.

When I say Master, my sorrows disappear,
When I say Father He drives away my fears
When I say Savior, my blinded eyes can see,
When I say Jesus He speaks sweet peace to me.

The peace that passes all understanding is not dependent upon outward circumstances. It comes from Him. He is our peace. We who are Christians are veterans of many skirmishes with the enemy of God and we could loose our peace if we did not known that the war has already been won.

Godís word tells us to keep our minds stayed upon the prince of peace and then we shall have perfect peace that passes all understanding. When that happens we can branch out to share that peace with others.

The peace that passes all understanding is not dependent upon outward circumstances. It comes from Him. He is our peace. We who are Christians are veterans of many skirmishes with the enemy of God and we could loose our peace if we did not known that the war has already been won.

Godís word tells us to keep our minds stayed upon the prince of peace and then we shall have perfect peace that passes all understanding. When that happens we can branch out to share that peace with others.

 I do not know who wrote it or where I remember it from.  But many years ago I heard a song that described turmoil and what to do about it.

The sea of life is raging, the storms clouds round me roll.
Iím tossed about in turmoil and itís growing very cold.
By myself Iíll never make it, but this one thing I know
When I speak the name of Jesus the storms clouds have to go.

When I say Master, my sorrows disappear,
When I say Father He drives away my fears
When I say Savior, my blinded eyes can see,
When I say Jesus He speaks sweet peace to me.

The peace that passes all understanding is not dependent upon outward circumstances. It comes from Him.  He is our peace.  We who are Christians are veterans of many skirmishes with the enemy of God and we could loose our peace if we did not known that the war has already been won.

Godís word tells us to keep our minds stayed upon the Prince of Peace and then we shall have perfect peace that passes all understanding. When that happens we can branch out to share that peace with others.

The only way to bring real peace into our lives is to sign a peace treaty with God, an armistice that says hostilities between us and God will cease. Then we will be able to make peace with ourselves, once we do that, we will be able to make peace with our neighbors, branch out into our churches and into the city.

Jesus said, "there will be wars and rumors of wars until He returns" so world peace is an illusion. But until then, we can create peace in our own little worlds.

Make peace with Him
Make peace with yourself
Make peace with your neighbor
Make peace in the church
Then show yourself friendly with the world.

Penned long, long ago by: St. Ignatius of Loyola

When all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence, Your love and Your strength.  Help us to have perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to You, we shall see Your hand, Your purpose, Your will through all things.