Tag Archives: Peace

Experience Joy During the Holidays

The holiday season can be hectic, stressful and difficult for many people. When we compound that with issues of unforgiveness in our lives we are not able to fully rejoice and enjoy the season of gratitude and thankfulness.

Wounds that are not completely healed often cause unmet expectations, sadness and regrets. The litmus test to see whether a wound is completely healed is to ask yourself if you are uncomfortable when you see that person or you hear their name. If you feel discomfort, your wound is not healed. If your unhealed wound is a result of someone’s offense against you, there is a way to find healing.

Author and speaker Nan Brown Self unlocks the secret to experiencing and practicing this fundamental key to walking in freedom from our past offenses in her book Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace (Brown Books Publishing Group, 2017).

Nan has a passion for applying the teachings of Scripture to everyday life and has taught on the subject of forgiveness for over thirty-five years. But it was her own exhaustion and load of emotional baggage carried far too long that brought her to the foot of the Cross. “Why do you continually bring your burdens of unforgiveness but never leave them there,” she sensed the Lord saying. In seeking to answer His question, she found fresh perspective on one of the most fundamental teachings of Scripture and more importantly, experienced the grace of forgiveness that left her “past” where it belonged – at the Cross with Jesus.

With biblical insight, Nan helps the reader identify the roots of unforgiveness, experience healing of old wounds, begin the journey of restoring relationships, and maintain their walk in peace and freedom. Each chapter concludes with practical questions, a worksheet, and a prayer, making it ideal for study groups or private devotionals. Drawing from her personal encounter with the grace of forgiveness and the immutable truth of God’s Word, Nan charts the course to freedom from our past grievances and offers a prescription to maintaining that freedom on a daily basis.

“Forgiveness is the gift of grace from the heart of Jesus,” states Self. “He carried your sins to the cross and bore the pain of those sins so that you might be pardoned from their binding power and consequences. Through His grace, you receive a release from sin that you have not earned or deserved. In order to receive this gift, you need to accept His forgiving grace.”

www.ForgivenessByGrace.com

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Finding Peace in India

Trevor with group at HBII am in India this week. My husband, Terry, is teaching pastors and their wives. I am supporting with video, pictures, prayer, and the like. I like my support role. I find it peaceful to record the stories as I listen to the people talk. I love watching their faces as they connect through the translator with Terry’s American stories.

Yesterday, we listened to them tell us their stories. I have done this in the past when meeting new pastors. Many of them are heartbreaking…almost beaten to death, rejected by their families and cast out to live on the streets by their own parents because of their faith in Christ, being sold into prostitution, alcoholism, drug addiction, attempts at suicide and much more. I have found a single thread that runs almost every story. They just wanted peace.

Life is pretty simple here. You work to get your food and clothing for each day. Your expectations, if you have any, are low and simply based on improving your life. You don’t have many other possessions. Although they drive like maniacs, it is a much slower pace of life in some sense. But many of the people don’t experience any rest or peace.

Perhaps their lack of peace is due to the fact that 3.2 million people live in the same land area as my hometown of Corsicana – population 25,000. The city literally never sleeps. Or could it be because they have no assurance of what tomorrow will bring and no way to plan for it? The day before we arrived they had an unseasonable amount of rainfall accompanied by a hailstorm. Now their crops are ruined and the cost of food has gone up 100%. Their lack of peace might also be due to their religion that offers the impossible task of appeasing a variety of gods that are “unpleasable”. They have a deterministic outlook on life, because that same religion teaches that everyone will get another chance in their next life.

Another common thread in their stories is the sense of instantaneous peace they find when they meet Jesus. The look on their entire face as they share that experience is both breathtaking and overwhelming. The local pastor, Trevor, says that people can recognize a believer just by looking at their face. He says it is because they see peace and light.

In the midst of this newly found peace, their life circumstances still do not change. They still work every day for the food they need. Some days they go without. They wear the same clothes every day. They travel hundreds of miles for 2-3 days just to hear someone teach God’s word, always in very rough conditions and sometimes experiencing persecution. But they are at peace.

Maybe that is why I like coming here so much. I sense God’s peace in a very dark place. I wish I could bottle it and bring it home with me. When I return home, I always find myself starting to rush and be anxious about the things I need to get done. And I am supposed to know better! I am praying that God will give me peace as I return, and remind me to bring my anxious thoughts to him like my brothers and sisters here in India.

So as I am finishing up, I’m thinking, “Do people who are in darkness around us see peace and light when they look at our faces?

John 14:27 My peace I leave with you….

Tina Jacobson is founder and CEO of The Barnabas Agency.

The People, The Land, and The Future of Israel

Dr. Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People is available for interviews

5D16A452-1967-4F28-820D-F16739344E0EMitch Glaser, Ph.D., president of Chosen People Ministries (CPM), doesn’t believe the Holy Land conflict will be solved by political theorists or a panel of experts. The cultural differences and even spiritual pain will take deep, personal healing to resolve. Though the current ceasefire had looked hopeful for producing mutually respectful dialogue, he says, we may have run into another hurtle.

Israel’s right to land in the Middle East has always been an inflammatory topic, and Christians, who feel a unique connection with the area, are divided over how to handle the people and the politics. Dr. Glaser believes contemporary Christians are growing more sympathetic to the people in and around Israel, both Jews and Palestinians, in their hope to promote the healing needed to bring peace.

CPM reaches out to all people. They don’t oppose Muslims or Palestinians as people, knowing, as Dr. Glaser says, “the Israeli mother and the Palestinian mother both want their children to be safe.”

<5D16A452-1967-4F28-820D-F16739344E0E.png>In a new book, The People, the Land and the Future of Israel: A Biblical Theology of Israel and the Jewish People, Dr. Glaser collaborates with scholars to present “important historical, theological, and contemporary issues related to Israel and the Jewish people from numerous angles.” says Glaser.

Dr. Glaser was born into an Orthodox Jewish home in New York City. He has a Ph. D. in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, has taught at many U.S. universities, and has traveled to Jewish communities around the world. After two of his closest Jewish friends became believers in Jesus, Dr. Glaser was introduced to the idea that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah.

He is co-recipient of Christianity Today magazine’s 2009 Award of Merit in the Apologetics/Evangelism category for the book To The Jew First: The Case for Jewish Evangelism in Scripture and History, which was co-edited with Darrell Bock. Dr. Glaser and Dr. Bock also co-edited The Gospel According to Isaiah 53, published by Kregel Press.

CPM has been working among Jewish people around the world since 1894. Dr. Glaser has served as president since 1997. Among their many initiatives, ministry workers in Israel are working with a generation about to be lost, Russian-born Holocaust survivors. In another ten years, they will be gone, carrying a burden no one should have to bear.

“Even if you don’t believe in the authority of the Bible,” he states, “this book will help readers understand historically and why evangelical Christians are motivated to support Israel.”

Talking Points:

·       How to pray for the peace of Israel
·       How Christians can support the nation of Israel
·       The future of Israel
·       Is the modern state of Israel the fulfillment of biblical prophecy?
·       Why the Christian community is divided on the topic of Israel
·       Why Israel is a “political football”
·       Remaining Holocaust survivors in areas near Gaza
·       Helping Israeli children after 90 days of going back and forth from bomb shelters
·       The next generation of Christians and their attitude towards Israel

5 Ways to Pray for the Peace of Israel

Photo by Amy Morrow, courtesy of Bill Oechsler

The Psalmist encourages us to pray for Israel, but believers may not fully appreciate the reasons why God instructs us to pray specifically for Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). Yet, our motivation to pray for the peace of Jerusalem is embedded in the very words of the Psalmist themselves:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.”

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is a prayer for physical and spiritual peace—which only comes through the Prince of Peace. Praying for peace reminds us that human beings are incapable of creating peace for themselves and that only God can bring peace to a broken world this side of heaven (Phil 4:6-7) and in the world to come (Isa 2:2-4; 11:6-9).

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is, in reality, praying for Jesus to return, as peace will only come to the world when He takes His rightful throne in Jerusalem and reigns forever (Matt 23:37ff; Rev. 11:15). Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is a way of asking God to implant His peace in the hearts of both Jews and Gentiles by personally accepting the Prince of Peace as Lord of their lives.

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem also brings blessings to those who pray, especially as God views our prayers as blessing the Jewish people (Gen 12:3). God still has plans for the chosen people. As Paul reminds us, “they are loved on account of the patriarchs” (Rom. 11:28-29).

How should we pray for the peace of Jerusalem?

The following might give you some ideas about how to pray for the peace of Jerusalem more effectively:

1. Pray for Jewish Israeli and Palestinian leaders to both negotiate a temporary, politically-based peace and to also find peace in their hearts through accepting Jesus. These are the people we should pray for at this time: Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah) and Khaled Meshaal (Hamas); as well our leaders in the U.S., President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

We can pray that God guides these leaders to make decisions that bring peace instead of war and suffering for their citizens.

2. Pray for the work of God’s people in bringing the message of the gospel to the almost 200,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel. By God’s grace, Chosen People Ministries has been able to enjoy a growing ministry among these precious people.

During the recent conflict with Hamas our staff was able to provide care for many of these survivors, both materially and spiritually. One of them describes the peace of heart he has now experienced through receiving Jesus as Messiah and Lord:

Something happened in my life when I went to Poland on a Chosen People Ministries Israel trip for Holocaust survivors. I received a Bible, which I read day and night while we were in Poland. Since then, I have dedicated myself to reading Scripture and studying. I was baptized and know fully that Jesus the Jewish Messiah has died and conquered death for me!”

Your prayers can make a difference serving this treasured community, which may die out within a decade.

3. Pray for the quiet reconciliation efforts of Jewish and Arab believers in Israel seeking to encourage one another by developing deeper relationships between the Jewish and Palestinian Church. There are over 140 congregations in Israel, ranging from small house fellowships to established places of worship. Pray that the work of the Prince of Peace will grow among Jewish Israelis and Palestinians and that they are enabled to provide a powerful witness of Messiah’s reconciliation among their neighbors.

4. Pray for God to help the church in the United States to be better informed about what is happening in Israel and to find ways to glean information for continued prayer outside of the slanted approach of the media.

5. Praying for the peace of Jerusalem reminds us of our blessed hope! Even though peace is elusive today, it is still our prophetic destiny. As Isaiah the prophet writes, “He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Is 2:4).

The Shalom we are seeking is now available for all people, as this peace transcends the terror of ISIL, the war with Hamas and whatever conflict or suffering this world thrusts upon us. Jesus said,

“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, nor let it be fearful.”

His peace is all we need today to keep our hearts from being consumed with fear. His peace is our destiny, as one day the Prince of Peace will arrive from heaven and establish His throne in Jerusalem (Isa 2, 9:6-7).

Praying for Israel and the Jewish people reminds us of the Shalom the Lord has planned for all humanity. There is a beautiful Jewish prayer that sheds new light on Psalm 122:6.

May He who makes peace in the heavens make peace descend upon us and all Israel, and let us say, Amen!

Dr. Mitch Glaser is president of Chosen People Ministries. His latest project is The People, the Land and the Future of Israel: A Biblical Theology of Israel and the Jewish People from Kregel Publishing. Dr. Glaser collaborated with several scholars to present important historical, theological, and contemporary issues related to Israel and the Jewish people from numerous angles. Please visit chosenpeople.com.

Remembering

Remembering in prayer…

loved ones lost from the violence set in motion 12 years ago today

those still in harm’s way

those protecting us from harm- come home soon

remembering and moving in peace today…

peace beyond understanding

light

Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

-Martin Luther King

Day 15: S H E L T E R

Day 15: S H E L T E R

Sending love and prayers to my dear friends and families taking shelter and taking others in tonight.

Even if we are divided by inhabitants, may we be united by rooftops as we find shelter together.

Shelter is peace in the midst of chaos…a place of welcome…something that quails our fear when we are afraid.

A shelter is a refuge from the world, from war, from the noise of life.

I think what I like about the image of a shelter is that its not apart from the storm but is something that is placed in the storm and yet it is something that helps keep us from harm’s way, but it isn’t so far away that we loose sight of it.

-Jars of Clay artists