Tag Archives: peace

The Christ, The Prince of Peace

Christ did not come to bring peace but to bring a sword
Christ did not come to bring peace but to bring a sword

“Glory in the highest” the angels sang, “and on earth peace, goodwill to men.”

From this first joyful proclamation of Jesus’ birth to this day, Jesus’ name has been used by advocates for peace of all kinds regardless of those advocates belief in and surrender to Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Pastor Todd preached Sunday on the hard thought that Christ did not come to bring the peace we men expected. In Matthew 10 Jesus proclaims something seemingly directly contrary to the angel’s words:

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Isn’t the Messiah supposed to bring peace? After all, the angels could not be lying, could they? I’m so confused!

Elsewhere Jesus seems to confirm the angels and contradict Himself:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

The Jews Jesus was preaching to in Matthew 10 were expecting a Messiah who would wage one final war and end all conflict with Israel as the masters of the universe. They were expecting the Prince of Peace to beat the Romans into submission and enthrone their own county in the seat of eternal power. Forget Pax Romana, they wanted Pax Iudeah.

The Jews were correct, in once sense: the peace Christ brought would be achieved through final conflict.

In John 14 Jesus is speaking specifically to His disciples, and by extension, to those who believe in Him as their Savior and Lord. He reinforces the distinction between His peace and the peace the rest of the world claims by stating He will not give His peace the same way the world gives.

There are two different kinds and times of peace that Christ is bringing to mankind. The instant and constant kind enjoyed only by those who have fought Christ and lost and surrendered and now live in subjection to His will and in His protection. And the future, hoped-for peace which will only come about when all mankind ceases it’s striving with God, the vice-grip of sin is broken from every heart, and the deceiver and tormentor and death are cast, along with all their minions and followers, into the pit of eternal destruction in God’s wrath.

The peace Christ  brought at his birth was the instant and constant peace available to those who put their faith in Him. In that same birth He began the final process up to the final day with the final trumpet shall sound, ushering in that final, lasting, and universal peace.

Wishing and hoping for universal peace on this earth is a hopeless and pointless task. Sin is the dominant force in the majority of people’s hearts, and sin is selfish. Sinners will not even agree together, and even God had not sent His Son to bring even greater conflict, the sinners themselves would find conflict enough among themselves.

Christ’s presence in this world brings even greater reason for conflict. The coming of Christ brought not the peace we men hoped for but the seed to greater conflict due to the presence of truth and those who would not and will not accept it.

Christ brought truth and truth wars against the lies which hold so many captive. Those who remain captive to the lies of the world also war with vehemence against the truth and those who have surrendered to it. The conflict is mutual and inescapable.

Peace on this earth is reserved only to those who surrender to Him and live in allegiance to His will. Peace in eternity is only given to the same.

This is not an exclusive claim because the means of salvation is freely available to all. There is no person alive not permitted to surrender to Christ, and God makes clear throughout the bible His will that no one should perish. This is the goodwill to men, that God, who worked with man despite his sin, provided the way out of the penalty for that sin.

Have We Forgotten?

With the elections of November 2006, the overall victorious party, the Democrats, claimed they’d been given a “mandate” regarding many issues, particularly the War on Terror. They claim the American people have spoken and that the only allowable course now is withdrawal and defeat. Though they speak specifically of the Iraqi War, their master policy is reflective of their general disenchantment with the whole war against terror. This belief in a “mandate”, the word du jour for giving credence to the questionably credible, does seem to be born out by the recent polls, as reported on CNN and the BBC, showing 2/3 of Americans don’t see a good plan for winning the War in Iraq.

While it is only barely debatable that the Iraq War is not going the way we’d hoped, not even complete failure is a viable reason for ever giving up, especially in this war where it is our homes, families, businesses, our way of life, and our lives themselves which are at stake. After all, this war began, at least this current phase, with the enemy attaching us, on our turf, killing our husbands and wives, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters, brothers, innocents all. Even many jihadists agree that non-combatants, civilians, and innocents are off-limits to any kind of attack. But attacked we were, and though it has now been several years since that attack we vowed we’d never forget, it was neither the first nor will it be the last, the danger is little abated. Is there then reason for throwing up our hands collectively, defeated?

Liberals would say emphatically “Yes!”

The current strategy, according to liberals, is not working, and therefore we must tuck tail and run. Defeatism leading to disengagement, with the ultimate goal of isolationism. An island we will be, literally and figuratively. And we having cried “uncle,” the rabid dogs hounding us around the world will allow us a gracious defeat and will let us be, alone. A final Vietnam this will be, America will no longer find the will to project itself and then indeed others will take the reins of power in the world. Except for several things, but first: Where in our governing documents and illustrious history do we the people determine the minutiae of war policy?

We expressly give the President power to direct and wage war as necessary and as he sees fit to protect our interests. This is, in part, why it is so very important that there be people of Character in high office leading this great nation. There cannot be a part-time person of character, for if at the first change of wind that person reassesses and changes their position, they are not truly a person of character. President Bush, for all anybodies disagreements with him personally and politically, has not changed course. He has stated his goal simply: to defeat terrorism whenever and wherever it is found, and has not changed. Whether agreeing with him or not, one can know what President Bush will continue to do. And the job is not finished. Far from it. The very fact of our experiencing difficulties in Iraq should be cause for us to redouble our efforts, reaffirming the need for such a battle now, before it is too late. And resolving to continue the fight we did not start in order to destroy the enemy who would destroy us.

For that is their goal whether we leave or not. The militant, radical, extremist Muslims, or Islamo-Nazis or Islamo-Facists, who began this war have a very public goal which they are not loath to tell, yet which we seem to have forgotten, it would seem. That goal is shouted by radical Imams (preachers or prayer leaders) and written officially as Fatwahs (edicts) and published to their adherents around the globe. America is the Great Satan and it and other nations which do not submit to their extreme Islamic theology, philosophy, and government must be destroyed, period. For them there is no discussion, no arguing the points and possibilities of peaceful coexistance. If we give up in Iraq and the other fronts of the War on Terror we are signing our own, our childrens’, and out entire futures’ death warrants. They will be utterly defeated or they will rule the world, there is no third option for them, and therefore there isn’t for us either.

So then, the only choice for us must be to continue to face them in classic American projectionism. To battle evil is the calling and constant duty of the good. Evil at different times and places takes different faces. Consider the World Wars of the last century. What if we’d given up because too many were dying? What if we’d accepted defeat at the hands of the Nazis? It is likely all of Europe would be enslaved to this day by them or another despotic regime along with most or all of Africa and the East. Prior to our engagement in that war it was the Republican Party arguing for isolationism against engagement, just to show how times and ideas change.

Just as in the World Wars, others are depending, both admittedly and unadmittedly, on our success. The United Kingdom continues to be our staunchest ally, showing classic British, Scottish, Irish and Welsh pluck and courage and an indomitable spirit. Mr. Blair has perhaps been more eloquent in his defence of the War and has used his bully pulpit more often explaining the rationale for our continued involvement in this fight than President Bush. Spain has given up after suffering great pain and loss of its own on its own shores. Instead of steeling its resolve as the London Train Bombings did for the United Kingdom, Spains’ Madrid Train Bombings broke the resolve of Castilla. Regardless of the allies individual or collective spines, though, if we fail, Spain will once again become a Moorish conquest, and this will not be an Islamic Kingdom such as that of the Moors of old who valued art and learning and to whom we owe a great debt for their careful preservation and translation of many priceless works of knowledge and beauty.

So if America were indeed to falter and fail, and retreat within its borders, who would then take the lead in the world? Who has the strength and ability, and more importantly the moral fiber and the national will?

There are few countries indeed who do not have the desire to lead the world the way America has led. The relevant question really is not would they, but could they and should they. The UK has perhaps the nearest moral fiber (nationally) to America. Willing to take unpopular stands around the world in what they see as preservation of good. However, by size they are physically unable to produce enough to lead economically. A leading nation must be able to produce enough to be nearly self-sufficient if necessary. They must be an economic powerhouse challenging all others to give it weight enough for it’s word to mean something. The European Union has shown it does not have the moral fiber to stand against evil at crucial times. Like the UN, when it comes to actual meaningful action, the EU is hampered by it’s own universality, someone is always involved with the enemy and therefore no one can do what must be done. Further, being based on “old-world” economies, it does not produce or consume enough, even collectively, to give it’s word weight beyond it’s member n ations.

In Asia, both China and India have the size, and economic and political/military might and/or potential. However, China is hampered by an immoral, communist quasi-dictatorship, and even if democracy or some less greedily repressive and philosophically backward form of government than comunism were to take over immediately, the people would not soon be ready for world domination and protection. India perhaps has the best chance of becoming a or the world dominant nation, post America, but even they suffer under a socially restrictive religion, social order, and government.

African and South American nations suffer almost universally under corrupt, despotic governments and appear too busy enriching their own upper crusts illegitimately to worry too much about their being the trailing end of the nations of the world. Russia seems unable to throw off cronyism and corruption in business or the siren song of a communist government.

Those nations among our allies in the Middle East have their hands much too full trying to set their houses in order without offending any of their geographical or theological brethren, and many of them officially support ideologies as destructive and evil as any of their more violent neighbors who we’re now in struggle against

So that leaves America. Oh, and not to offend anybody, but who’s heard anything out of our northern neighbor Canada recently? I’m told it’s a beautiful place and the people there are special and nice and kind, but they appear to be content, in a global perspective, being frosting, a whole lot of white stuff, on top of the United States. That and trying to win the title “More Socialist Than France While Still Drinking Beer (Wine Is For Sissies).” So here we are, the lone strongman holdout against the encroaching darkness, to whom all others cling. Some more grudgingly than others. But this is what we are fighting for, the whole world. This is the responsibility that comes with being the nice big kid on the block: We have to face every bully. And if we don’t win, this particularly bully is a rapist.

Here Stands Victory

The New York Times profiles the hero of the Superbowl, David Tyree. Here is a man who needs our prayers and who knows God is the reason for true victory:

“I’m a successful player in the N.F.L., having what most people would desire for their lives,” Tyree said. “I’m at the pinnacle of sports. But I had no joy. I had no peace. My life was obviously in disarray.”

Referring to his role in the Giants win over heavily favored Patriots, he says:

“It’s imperative for me not to act like this was all me.”

Read it all.

How To Win The Culture War

Romans 1:18-32 (ESV):

(18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (20) For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

(24) Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to (25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,

(26) For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; (27) and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

(28) And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to what ought not to be done. (29) They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (32) Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

This passage is contains the litany of sin from it’s roots, to it’s inception, to it’s fruition. Of particular importance is the fact that this litany is particularly applicable to a lifestyle of sin.

The process of temptation described in James 1:14-15 (ESV) is more universal in it’s application:

(14) But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (15) Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James’ process applies to all in that even we as Christians are prone to temptation, lustful desires, sin, and spiritual death or dormancy.

Paul’s process and description is more applicable to the sin of lifestyle. From a consistent denial of God and His attributes, God will cast them down into degrading passions. If they will not exalt Him, He will deny them even ‘human’ decency.

But in our sinful state, the heart of man seeks approval, approbation, and acceptance. As our sins have crawled out of the closet and been accepted by others, they have gained courage and through courage, further acceptance. Eventually, and this is the state of our nation today, sin and acceptance reach critical mass and breaks out into the mainstream, demanding recognition as something other than what it is.

But how do we deal with this? The lines have been drawn, the gauntlet thrown down, our children are being indoctrinated in school and our cities are being cajoled into hosting sex-fests in their streets in the form of “gay pride parades”.

We’ve confronted them, attacked their ideology, beaten back their growth at times, but bit by bit they seem to be winning as people stop caring and say to themselves: “what’s so wrong about it, they aren’t hurting anybody”.

A key fact in any war is that those fighting FOR something have a distinct advantage over those fighting AGAINST something. A positive goal inspires confidence and wins allies, while a negative goal works against the human spirit bringing discouragement and desperation.

So far in our culture war, we’ve been fighting against the encroaching forces of multi-culturalism, sexual deviancy, and other forms of social decay. At times we remind ourselves that we’re fighting for our families and children and nation, but overall, it is a war of defense.

We have lost the high-ground though. The momentum is with the enemy. We are being backed into walls in nearly all fronts of this war. This is a good thing.

Yes, this is a good thing.

We now have something to fight for.

But what are we fighting for, and how do we wage that battle most effectively.

In the last year of blogging here at I, Pandora, I’ve come to realize the futility of forcing political change. Bringing about a political change may bring temporary gains, but we have to compromise. We force ourselves to accept less-than-optimal options in our leaders.

Political change is still important, very important. Those who stand in the gap for us are heroes who ought to be protected, and prayed over, and supported. But unless the hearts change, the same people will keep coming back with the same goals: to wipe out the influence and effectiveness of God’s word in the world.

Don’t be misguided, the people who champion the wrong ideas’ personal goals may be the forced societal acceptance of some deviance. But they are only the faces, they are not the enemy. They need true love, God’s love, as much or more so than any other.

No, the enemy is Satan. The deceiver. And it is in his impending and sure doom that we have our strength.

His goal is not acceptance of homosexuality, it is destruction of individuals in any way possible.

Our counter is the reaching of individuals in any way possible. And just as when Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, and it brought healing to those who saw it, and as Jesus, when He was lifted up on the cross, drew all men to Himself. Lifting God’s standard once again will draw men and women to Him.

The root cause, according to Paul, of the sin lifestyle is a refusal to recognize God, His attributes, and His truth. So we need to place God, His attributes, and His truth before them in an unimpeachable, undeniable, and undeniable way.

This is not done necessarily with posters and signs, slogans and shouts. But with lives lived wholly for Him.

The mission field is not just in Zimbabwe or Zambia, China or Croatia, or India. It may be in Indianapolis, or Sacramento, or Dallas, or Boston. For you it is wherever you are, whenever you are there. And if you’ve not started yet, it starts right now.

Your mission: to live your life wholly for God.

This does not mean perfection or even the illusion of perfection. God’s law and God’s love balance each other and provide guidance for us through our struggles and our triumphs.

The family is under assault, so shore up the breeches. Starting with as solid a foundation as can be found, Christ’s love, build your family with hard work and constant prayer. Grow it as large as God will give, and share and spread.

It is humorous, but conservative, loving, Christianity enjoys a distinct advantage over all alternate and deviant lifestyles even if only through the “Rabbit Method”: where we out-grow the deviant by means of procreation. (Soberingly, this is exactly how Muslims are taking over much of the world, by having large families).

Large families are not required, and I know many good people who choose a single life of service, or if they cannot have children, use their additional freedom to free energy to wage mighty war against the enemy.

The important thing is not that we have large families, but that we follow God’s call for our lives.

In our stable and strong, God-fearing, and God-glorifying relationships, we have something the rest of the world, including every religion and worldview and mythos, envies: peace.

Not a hypnotized, brainless, mind-numbing peace. But an despite-the-world-falling-around-us peace which comes from having the Master and Maker of all creation caring for us and promising that He’ll work everything together for our good.

That peaceful life, lived on ever lane and at each corner, in the car and on the roads. Lived in public and in private, at the grocery store and the lumber mill and the cannery. And yes, even on the battlefields around the world. Will draw all people.

So don’t beat your plowshares into swords or your rakes into Uzis. Using your plowshares and rakes to God’s glory will bring a far greater, far more lasting, and far more effective harvest.

American evangelicals are the wests best hope (American Thinker).

Holidays And New Year

From I, Pandora, here are wishes for a Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.

May this be an enjoyable time for all alike as we gather with friends and family to celebrate the giving of the greatest gift.

Over Christmas and the New Years and up until the 11th of January, I will not be blogging regularly.

However, I’ve schedule several new articles and several reposts of articles from when I, Pandora was young, over a year ago now. Regular posting will resume on the 14th of January.

I will be visiting in California the first two weeks of the New Year, seeing my hometown for the first time since I moved out to Chicago nearly a year ago now. Accompanying me will be my girlfriend who will be meeting my family for the first time (pray for her).

And so I pray that for each and every one of you, God will speak peace into your hearts as He did to us all so many years ago.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!