Peace, what is it good for?

ISIS. North Korea. Russia. ALT-RIGHT. ANTIFA. White Supremacy. Hurricane Harvey. These and a list only Santa could compete with causes us to stop and wonder. We wonder what peace is anyway. Or maybe a better question is how we can get peace? The cycle doesn’t ever seem to end.

Take ISIS for instance. American troops were leaving Iraq at the end of 2011 hailing the war was over. And now we’re back. Why? Because there’s no peace.

Every year we enter hurricane season and wonder what will comes.

The world has provided its input. They produce self-help books, preach inner-peace, countries enact peace treaties. But it doesn’t ultimately bring peace and we still see the world in want. We see a lack.

You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. Haggai 1:6.

This verse is a look into what we look like when we try to solve our problems, like lack of peace, apart from God. The world attacks the symptoms and not the disease. They puttimy their money into bags with holes.

The Apostle Paul spoke often about peace. He taught that for there to be peace the solution was going to have to be much deeper than behavior modification through books, treatises, or lets-all-get-along-ism.

Notice what Paul says in Colossians 1:20 “And through Him [Jesus] to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Paul knew that true peace only comes through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.

Paul also taught in his letter to the Romans that, “…since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We only avail ourselves of the peace everyone so desperately wants through faith in Jesus. We only experience peace if the blood of his cross has washed us clean of our sin and the Holy Spirit has regenerated us to new life.

So, as Christians, as church leaders, as ambassadors for Christ, what do we offer the world?

I’ll tell you what we don’t offer them. We don’t offer a lie. Do not go out in the world and imagine you can be a peacemaker without sharing the Gospel of peace.

There is no peace without Jesus.

If you are telling others that they can bring peace without sharing the Gospel, you are lying to them. If you are preaching that people can have peace without coming to Jesus first, you are preaching a false gospel. The ultimate source of our turmoil is sin. Sin in us cause racism, selfishness, pride, hate, etc. Natural disasters are a result of sin ruining the harmony God originally intended in creation.

Alas, God did not leave us in this mess we made. Look back to what Paul said in Colossians and remember that Jesus is reconciling all things to God. All that was broken, lost, marred, and ruined.

The chaotic unpredictable earth, our broken bodies and sinful hearts will be made new through the blood of Jesus cross.

Not pyramids of how to be a peaceful person. Not stretches and breathing to achieve inner-piece. Not a new treaty. Only Jesus. If your promising peace without him, you’re a putting money into a bag with holes. You are preaching a false gospel.

It’s All About Jesus.

I love hearing from readers, so please comment below.

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Prosperity theology rears its ugly head again

I just saw an ad for an upcoming tour Pastor and author James MacDonald is doing. The quote of the tour is extremely disturbing to me. It reads, “I don’t care what this costs, I’m going to have a breakthrough”. It screams of man focus and not God focus. Since when do we shout self actualizing proclamations at God that we WILL have a breakthrough!

Before you call me hyper critical or reading into it, bear with me. I hope to show you that what this tour is promoting contradicts what the Bible teaches.

To begin, what if we consider the stories of Jeremiah (never had a convert), Job (lost all wealth, health and his children), John the Baptist (was thrown in prison and then beheaded)? Even Paul(Read 2nd Corinthians 11)? Would they agree? I would venture to say no.

My question is what happened to not my will but Yours be done? What happened to just walking in the Spirit? I think about Paul’s thorn in the flesh that he prayed God would take away. (2nd Corinthians 12)

God never took it away.

God taught Paul through it that His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect through Paul’s weakness. So, instead of demanding a breakthrough (whatever that means), we ought to strive for holiness and Christ to be exalted through us in every circumstance.

Having resolve is different than self determining that our circumstances must change. This sentiment denies the possibility that God has put you in the situation you’re in on and for a purpose. You didn’t slip out of God’s will and He is just waiting for you to muster some will to get yourself back on track. 1st Corinthians 10 tells us that in everything we are to glorify Him. This tour is advertising self glorification. This is a symptom of an American Christian disease of prosperity theology. It proclaims that if you’re not successful and everything isn’t going how you want it to, then you aren’t laying hold of all that God has for you. Job, Jeremiah, John the Baptist (just to name a few) would disagree with your theology. They would disagree with this prosperity theology. This theology is self centered and prideful. It looks at the pyramids of Egypt and desires their material glory. But longing for Egypt means back to slavery. We cannot look at the world and desire it’s things and not be enslaved. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

I call everyone, including myself, to renounce all forms of prosperity theology and materialism.

God is enough.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison -2nd Corinthians 4:17

The good news of the Gospel is not that everything goes as we will have breakthroughs and everything goes well. The good news is that we get God. And nothing can compare to having Him.

John Piper put it well: https://youtu.be/G-V_91c5ojU