The spiritual theme for me this weekend began with a class on peacemaking. If you are human, you have relational conflicts. I am human. And I work in the "people business" which has shown me that I will probably deal with an increase of interpersonal conflicts, whether they involve me directly or involve me coming alongside others.
The Bible is clear about how God wants us to approach conflict/people. Very clear. So clear that when I was taking this all in this weekend I lost 2 shoes sizes. Now, I can't complain that I went from a size 10 to an 8, but I am not sure I like that my toes were completely taken off. These lessons stepped on my toes HARD. (In reality I would like to be a size 8 but I think I need toes.)
It is good. God is good and faithful and loving enough to not leave me where I am at. I stumble so much. But He does not let me fall and He "upholds me in his hand." (Psalm 37:24)
At one point in the weekend I was led to a time of intense prayer and repented with great grief and tears over the darkness in my heart. God calls us to love; I complain. God calls us to bear; I accuse. God calls us to forgive; I stew. May the Lord have mercy on me.
He is merciful and He provides. My heart has been singing songs of praise, my lips have been praying Scripture for others, including my "enemies." And when I was tempted to fall right back into an old pattern yesterday, the Lord reminded me to turn to Him in praise instead of focus on the faults of men. Oh Praise the Lord!
We learned a song this weekend that was so much fun. As I turned to the Lord in praise yesterday I sang new, make-them-up-as-we-go verses to Him. It was my prayer being answered; instead of a yucky overflow in my heart, my overflow would be praise and truth. Thank you, Lord, now please, please keep me here!!!
One thing that impressed me this weekend was a fresh view of a familiar verse:
"Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God" Matthew 5:9
I've never looked at this verse in the way I was taught this weekend. This verse implies ALL sons and daughters of God are to be peacemakers! (Here is where I went from a size 10 to a size 9...bye-bye toes).
I want to be a peacemaker. I am CALLED to be a peacemaker.
What does a peacemaker look like? Romans 12:9-21 gives us some excellent descriptions. I have added the color to the pieces that are especially impressing to me in this area:
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
Wow. Thankfully God had Paul write "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." (Philippians 1:6). It is only the Lord who can accomplish this in me.