Peace at all Costs?

I heard it again: “I want peace at all costs!” But people who say that don’t realize it is one of the most ignorant statements a peace-loving, freedom-loving person could utter.

This is what it means: “No matter what it costs, I want peace.” And this is what it entails: “No matter the financial cost, the emotional cost, the loss of personal or national security, the loss of personal or national freedoms, the loss of religious freedoms, and no matter how many of my relatives are mocked, jailed or killed, I WANT PEACE!” Friends, that is not peace.

Okay, what is “peace”? The dictionary says: “peace is a state of tranquility; freedom from civil disturbance; state of security or order; freedom from disquieting oppressive thoughts or emotions; harmony in personal relations; and a state of mutual concord between governments.”

So, after reading that definition, we must ask: What is the foundation of peace? Before you answer, let me say: It isn’t waving a white flag or holding your hands up in surrender.

DSCN0245In the Middle-East the Israelis and their neighbors have been “talking peace” for decades. The surrounding nations attack Israel. Israel wins and the defeated nations want peace. Then they say they will keep the peace if Israel gives land back. The US urges Israel to keep the peace at all costs. Israel gives back land. The neighbors continue fighting and say they will continue to keep the peace if Israel gives back more land. Do you see what’s going on? They are lying: the neighbors don’t want peace with Israel! 

In American politics, we have liberals, conservatives, independents, libertarians, and a host of other view-points. Every person will tell you they want peace, but many of them don’t know how to achieve it. Why not? Many of them don’t understand the foundation upon which peace is built, and continue trying to bend politics their way. Actually, many of them have been deceived as to what peace is – and is not.

But we must remember: peace and freedom go hand-in-hand. Peace is not the absence of conflict, nor achieved by avoiding conflict. We do not achieve peace by hiding our head in the sand. Peace is achieved by boldly but wisely facing evil, fighting it if we must, and assuring that Godliness prevails. “Peace at all costs” cannot produce peace; therefore, the phrase is absurd!

So, what is the basis for peace? IMG_1799

Here is the shocker: TRUTH – not politics – is the foundation for peace. Abortion, sodomy, euthanasia, moral compromises, nudity on television/theater/DVD – the list goes on – are all based on lies and deception.  The abortionist wants peace, if he is allowed to kill the unborn. The homosexual wants peace, if he is allowed to press his lifestyle on others. Hollywood wants peace if it is allowed the freedom of corrupting society with gross immorality and violence. Many people demand “tolerance & diversity” but then make laws to refuse tolerance & diversity for those who disagree with them. They all are deceiving themselves, and living a lie by oppressing others.

Some churches teach that peace and love are the highest ideals, but that is not correct. Truth is the highest ideal, and must be taught in church, at home, in society,DSCN2701 and in government. Do not allow the pursuit of peace, fulfillment, or political persuasion to deter you from living a life with truth as your foundation.

 “Peace at all costs” leads to intolerance, treachery, and death. Instead, we must adopt Martin Luther’s plea: “Peace if possible; Truth at all costs!” Peace is the by-product of right intention, right thinking, and right action.

Jesus said in John 14:27a [NASB]: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled.” That last phrase could mean “Don’t let the world’s troubles disturb you.”

We can have peace in our own heart and mind in the midst of a troubled world, but worldwide peace is not possible until Jesus returns. Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Therefore, with our focus on Jesus Christ, let’s establish Truth as our foundation; then pursue peace wherever possible.

A Psalm for the Living

Have you read the 23rd Psalm lately? Okay, you may have looked at the words, but have you really thought about it? Have you ever become curious enough to dig into it to understand some of its life applications? Let’s read it (KJV), then look at it line-by-line.

IMG_2642The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

The LORD is my shepherd. The Shepherd is never in doubt as to who belongs to him. And nothing can take us from Him (Romans 8:35-39).

I shall not want. I will have no lack in my life. All my needs (not talking about desires) will be met.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. I will live in peace. I will not have strife in my life for I trust the Shepherd.

He leadeth me beside the still waters. Through the Shepherd’s guidance, I will stay out of trouble and be safe.

He restoreth my soul. If I go astray, disobey, or sin, the Shepherd restores our relationship when I repent.

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. The gentle Shepherd doesn’t push – He LEADS me in respectable and conscientious living which honors Him.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Even though I go through rough and dangerous times, even though I have severe trials and hardships, I will not fear because the Shepherd is by my side watching over me. The Shepherd allows hard times in my life for my benefit. If everything went peachy-smooth all the time, I would never learn to trust him.

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. The Shepherd uses the staff to rescue, guide, and correct me; the rod is used for my discipline and to beat off predators and enemies.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. In the middle of both earthly conflict and spiritual battles, the Shepherd provides everything I need for both this life and in the next life. He never leaves me and shows me how to gain the victory. But I have to watch and listen.

Thou anointest my head with oil. The Shepherd has chosen me for a specific purpose or function, and promised that He will enable me and empower me to fulfill that purpose.

My cup runneth over. My life is complete. I am filled with blessings, friends, joy, and with confidence in the Shepherd that He will do all that He said He would.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. I will live righteously, and will show mercy to all those around me so that they, too, can learn to live for the Lord.

I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. I will live for the Lord, worship Him, and praise Him my entire earthly life, then throughout eternity.

After some study, I identified something that seemed to be missing from the Psalm.DSCN9839B There is an unspoken condition that is inferred after “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Many “sheep” who belong to the True Shepherd may not be enjoying all the benefits that this Psalm lists because they don’t understand or may not be aware of this unspoken condition. What is it?

Please read this next line several times: We must continually stay close to the shepherd and obey him. When sheep wander off, they can get hurt or killed because the shepherd can neither protect nor provide for them. The shepherd trains the sheep to follow him. He does not drive his sheep; he leads them. Therefore, the sheep must watch and stay close. As the sheep cooperate, all the shepherd’s love, care, and benefits are available to the sheep. But we must stay close to Him.

If we have truthfully accepted the leadership of the Shepherd, Jesus Christ, in our lives, this Psalm is applicable for us while we live! Then, if we have stayed close to the Shepherd, the Psalm is ever more comforting at the end of our earthly life. And the totality of its promises is guaranteed in heaven.