Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Last Chapter

 Here is the last Chapter of "Peace on Earth?"  If you haven't read the rest of the book, at least read this brief summary.  

You can buy a Kindle version for $3 or a paperback for $8 by clicking this LINK. The cover by diane michele may alone is worth the price. Diane


So What?

"And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.[1]"

If we get this right, what affect will it have on the world around us?

Better Christians
As we come to be at peace in the world, living in it, but not being of it, we will be able to act confidently on God's instructions. 

Some of Jesus' teachings are downright terrifying.  "Drop your business and come follow me."  "Sell everything you have worked so hard to accumulate, give it to the poor and come follow me."  If you are not convinced, get a copy of David Platt's book, "Radical." 

Telling people the good news is scary for lots of reasons.  Going intentionally to strange places, even in the city where we live, can be very intimidating.  But as we condition ourselves to be confident in the promises God has made to us, we will become more bold in our outreach.  That is not to say that we will become more aggressive as we move toward people.  In spite of the soldier analogies, Jesus did not call on us to be belligerent.[2]  But we will present ourselves more confidently.  We will gain respect because of our integrity.  Even people who disagree with us will respect our honesty and reliability.  We will become more worthy as conduits of God's message to his people.  We will be better family members, employees, employers and church members.

Better churches
Imagine a church made up of confident non-worriers who are clear about God's will for them and are busy in the community around them telling the good news and helping people who need help.  Or, if you have trouble with that image, imagine a church with several people like that who are also gently teaching the rest of the group to become like they are as they follow Jesus. 

It will be a powerful group, not because of its own power but because it draws on the power of him who has overcome the world[3].  They will be active and loving and gentle and very busy in the work of the Lord.

A better world
With churches full of people who are gently telling good news and are helping others through their hard times - moving with confidence through the world - how could the world not be a better place? 

Faith in God includes trust in his promises.  He promised he would take care of us just as he does the lilies (and the dandelions).   If we believe that promise, we can turn loose of our dependence on ourselves and on things we have accumulated.  It will free us to live in the moment; to do what is right, right now.

And if we trust in the power of God, we can let go of our worries about the world around us.  Let go of the worries and put our energies instead to doing what we can to make it a better place.

Keep in mind three principles:
1.  God loves us and wants us to be at peace.
2.  Though he wants us to be busy in his kingdom, he does not require that we "fix" the world.  That's his job.
3.  God has not called us to use the country's police forces to require non-believers to live righteously. Instead, he has charged us with calling people to righteousness.

If we will busy ourselves with doing what God has called us to do, going to where people are, telling the good news to everyone we meet, and helping those who need help, he will give us the peace that is beyond comprehension, and that will cause others to ask where it comes from.

May God bless you as you put this to work.

Again to my dear wife, who continues to put up with me.
To my friends who read the draft.  As a result of their comments, I have made some changes to try to soften it somewhat (really!), to clarify some points, and to make it clearer that I am not calling on people to keep quiet about the truth.
The reviewers were Ann Baur, Dan Horn, Jeff Lambert, Linda Lingo, and Charlene May.  Their reviewer role does not imply that they agree with the content.
And to Diane May who created the cover art and to her son, David May 3 who served as the model.

[1] James 3:18
[2] Ephesians 4:1-3
[3] John 16:33