A Nation at Peace

Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim, for the land had rest from war (Josh 14:15).  As signs of the end of the age we’ll hear of wars and rumors of wars, but we mustn’t be alarmed, for this is to take place for the end isn’t yet.  “Nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs” (Mt 24:6-8).  People will know that world peace is impossible without Christ, for the Lord will abolish the bow, the sword, war from the land, and he’ll make us to lie down in safety (Hos 2:18).

Preeminent leader of Indian Independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) said, “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”  If their hearts and soul are centered on peace they will be great gifts.  Ronald Reagan (1911–2004), a president of the United States, stated, “If we ever forget that we are One Nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”  President Reagan couldn’t concede of America without God.  God-fearing leaders put their trust in a Supreme Being.  This is reflected in the country’s tradition.

Attributes of Nations

Other important attributes make nations great.  A president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) recognized, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”  By this concept our views about America evolved.  Today we speak about the equality of opportunities.  There will always be those who are privileged and gain favors other Americans don’t.  The goals of equality have however reshuffled the society, and there’s accountability in education and talent, but not just not only on the color of one’s skin.

Some problematic aspects of American life were exposed by Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968), a Baptist minister and leader of the African American Civil Rights Movement, when he declared, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  This dream is alive and well.  America did witness the election of its first African American president Barack Obama to the White House.

Importance of a Home

Americans mustn’t lose track of the importance of a home in their daily lives.  A Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius (551 BC–479 BC) revealed, “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”  Undoubtedly it’s the quality of training passed down which determines the caliber of a nation.  If Americans – black or white, don’t instill moral values in the young, they will fail in their duties as citizens.

It’s uplifting if we concluded like Michelle Obama (b. 1964), a first lady of the United States, who said, “Every day, the people I meet inspire me…every day, they make me proud…every day they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on earth.”      

Mystery of Life

The gift of life is a mystery.  “That which is far off, and exceedingly deep, who can find it out?” (Eccl 7:24).  There is a time for everything – a time for war, and a time of peace (Eccl 3:1-8).  The Lord has measured the days of our lives (Ps. 39:5).  “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, and the flower therefore falleth away.  But the word of the Lord endureth forever” (1 Pet 1:24-25).

Astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930–2012) felt, “Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.”  What Armstrong didn’t say was that there were dimensions to understanding the vital gifts of life.  Through these, we’re able to appreciate the grandeur of God’s creation.  J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904–1967), a theoretical physicist and professor observed, “Both the man of science and the man of action live always at the edge of mystery, surrounded by it.”  Some phenomena may strike us as unexplainable, yet through God unbelievable things come to pass.

Modern Miracles

They are individuals who have endeavored to find explanations for modern miracles.  Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936) encouraged such efforts when he stated, “Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.”  But still, there are miracles beyond explanation.  Some believers are sure these are acts of God that have come to light.  To them, there can be no other answer.  It doesn’t trouble them if they don’t know why miracles occur.  They will continue to believe in the biblical teachings of faith.

Mysteries may not always relate to positive results.  There can be dreadful acts that keep us wondering about God.  Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), a preeminent leader of Indian Independence movement, reflected, “It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.”  We may ask why nations fight wars when they are so dreadful.  Innocent people suffer, towns are destroyed, and many thousands killed, or wounded.  Still, there are wars.  This is a mystery, but how can we stand such tragedy?

Our Connectedness

Marion Cotillard (b. 1975), a French actress and songwriter said, “I think the Earth and everything around it is connected – the sky and the planets and the stars and everything else we see as a mystery.”  Men and women continue to reflect on what this connectedness means.  These mysteries are always before us.  We embrace these, but still we’re unable to make sense of them.  We must glorify some phenomena as gifts that are beyond our comprehension.

It’s often said that there are different sides to a story.  One of those sides is in our world.  An Irish playwright and novelist Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) wrote, “The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”  Some people may speculate if the visual world is so incomprehensible, just imagine what the invisible is like.

Max Planck (1858–1947), a German theoretical physicist thought, “Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature.  And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”  Mankind is faced with mysteries within mysteries.  Trying to decipher these are problematic, and often without adequate answers.

Mission of Life

Viktor E. Frankl (1905–1997), an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist observed, “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment.  Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.”   What’s your mission?  Are you a lover of life and drawn to its changing nature?  Is your life’s mission, loving people whether they are rich or poor?  Do you display acts of gratitude to the weak and strong alike?  Are your works filled with the fruits of love?  If you practice these attributes you’re worthy of the commandment to love your God and neighbor as yourself.

Cultivating & Caring

Every child of God is called to a new life.  It’s wonderful living in his presence as sons and daughters.  You’ll be blessed with an indestructible nature.  Like the saints you’ll be in the world, but not of it.  You’ll be inspired with the joy of love that’s faithful, kind, and caring.  Many Christians receive these gifts as they are guests at the supper of the Lamb.  This is how we put love into practice by embracing the Lord, and our brothers, and sisters with love.

Denis Waitley (b. 1933), a motivational speaker and best-selling author noted, “A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is caring, sharing person inside.”  That’s why it’s good to greet others with a smile.  They will realize you’re a really caring person reaching out to them.

Change of Lifestyle

Daily as we rise from bed we must view this blessing as a new beginning.  We’re always changing and cultivating a new lifestyle.  This growth eventually leads to living fulfilled lives for his sake.  Forgotten will be our dependence on false idols that most worship.  With a life’s change you’ll be blessed with Christ’s hope from the Scriptures.  With these promises our lives will be transformed with the fullness of his love.

George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), an Irish playwright explained, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”  It must be remembered though, not all changes are necessarily good.  But when there’s a change to Christ and the Holy Spirit this is a true testaments. Jim Rohn (1930–2009) noted, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”  We can change all we want but if we don’t have discipline concerning what we’re doing, it means nothing.

 Live to the Fullest

All must endeavor to live to their fullest.  While living we make stops along the way, and there’ll be excitement concerning what we discover.  Eventually Christians believe in the resurrection and ascension of our Lord, and his victory over death.  We must therefore evangelize in love, while touching the golden rays of hope, realizing that eventually we’ll enjoy eternal life.  Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), an author and abolitionist advised, “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”  In this pursuit we lift high our crosses, loving the poor, and making peace with God’s creation.  This is how we must live on planet earth.  For on that appointed time, we’ll receive our just reward in heavenly places, by pursuing the narrow road filled with his everlasting light.

The True Light

Why sin against the light?  It’s amazing how some prefer living in darkness rather than in the true light of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  In calamity pray to him and plead for pity.  Unload yourself of all wrongs, and secure Christ’s universal grace.  Do not endanger your soul and face everlasting damnation.  Be vigilant and stave off the affliction of divine wrath by not being estranged from God. Be knowledgeable of the truth and resist the bondage of vice.  Seek the help you need.

Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/1182–1226), an Italian Catholic preacher observed, “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”  Saint Francis knew the nature of people’s hearts by the way they treated creatures.

 Our Wrongs

It’s always wise to ask forgiveness of your sins.  For sins ask God to be merciful.  Be humble and repentant seeking Christ in the right manner. People will know when they do wrong because they are convicted by their conscience.  Be sure to turn your life around.  Accept his forgiveness and begin living morally.  We must never go before God professing our goodness, but always acknowledge we’re sinners.  Instead of pleading goodness, plead worthlessness, and work at being steadfast in character.

Dennis Prager (b. 1948), a nationally syndicated radio talk show host stated, “Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, generosity, moral courage, and the like.  More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.”  It appears that Prager would say, “Let’s see how you treat your friends, and I’ll tell who you really are.”

The Redeemer Glorified

Come to Christ on your knees.  He wants to redeem you of the wrongs you’ve done.  Be sure to accept God’s grace which surpasses all understanding.  Jesus will accept all our burdens that we can ever cast on him.  After doing so people will find peace, joy, faith, and healing.  In confessing your sins do so with confidence for he’ll hear and forgive you.  Trust Christ and focus on his forgiveness, death, resurrection, ascension, and saving grace.

John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), the thirty-fifth U.S. President said, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.”  Undoubtedly Kennedy was intent on championing American liberty.

Be Sensible

To understand love it’s necessary to know misery.  Saint Augustine (354–430 AD), an early Christian theologian explained, “What does love look like?  It has the hands to help others.  It has the feet to hasten the poor and needy.  It has the eyes to see misery and want.  It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.  That is what love looks like.”  Like Saint Augustine people have to be willing to forgive the transgressions of others.  They must extend arms of mercy to the poor and needy alike.  Christians ought to be capable of moving people away from leading a meaningless life.

Miraculous Food

The Lord has established his throne in heaven and his Kingdom rules overall.

–Ps 103:19

For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.

–Ps 47:2

One of the necessities of life is food.  It’s true we need air and water too, but where food is concerned it’s all encompassing.  We have to be nurtured with bodily and spiritual victuals.  Any discussion of these requirements means every morsel of food that’s required for our sustenance.  We don’t know exactly what that means in heaven.  But as Christ performed miracles he often showed his power over nature.

Feeding of 5,000

The feeding of the 5,000 in Mt 14:15-21, Mk 6:35-44, Lk 9:12-17 and Jn 6:6-13 comes to mind.  So does the feeding of the 4,000 in Mt 15:32-38 and Mk 8:1-9.  These miracles provided glimpses of heaven.  To briefly recall the first event Jesus said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat? (Jn 6:5).  These people were all assembled in an isolated place.  The disciples felt that this crowd should be sent away to surrounding villages and the countryside to find food and lodging.  Jesus in asking this question was merely testing them.  When it was discovered there was a lad with five barley loaves of bread and two small fish.

Jesus used these loaves and fishes to perform an incredible miracle.  But first he had the crowd sit down in groups about fifty on the green grass, and with the loaves and fishes that the disciples brought him he looked up to heaven, gave thanks, and broke the loaves.  It was to heaven where he looked.  This was the place he addressed, and after came the miraculous multiplication of these offerings.  These gifts were distributed to the crowd.  They all ate and were satisfied.  Of the broken pieces which were left over the disciples picked up twelve baskets of broken pieces.

Feeding of 4,000

It was clear that heaven was a place of abundance, and this was where Jesus requested this favor for the crowd.  For the feeding of the 4,000 Jesus gave us another glance of heaven as he showed compassion on the crowd.  These people had been with him for three days with nothing to eat.  His disciples again expressed doubt.  They said, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”  (Mt 15:33).  Jesus simply asked, “How many loaves do you have?” (Mt 15:34, Mk 8:5).  They told him seven and a few small fish.  Once again the King of the Universe gave thanks and broke them, and turned over the multiplication to the disciples to distribute to the crowd.  Once more the people ate and were satisfied, and they picked up seven baskets of broken pieces.

Undoubtedly, heaven is a unique place.  It’s where we ought to focus, give thanks, and be compassionate to others.  Like Christ we’ll experience incredible results on earth.  Earth is where we’ll have our first taste of heaven.