Welcoming People Into Your Life — Even When It Is Messy

Rules of Use:

<b>There Are No Rules</b>

These stock photos may be used for any project, commercial or noncommercial. They may be used in content that is blatantly offensive, sacriligious, disgusting, lewd, or downright mean. Or you c...

(http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=8208104&searchId=fc0d07ca355de4e790053ed7db407892&npos=44)

I am going to be honest with you and admit that I am one of those people that thrives on order and organization.  It sounds “pretty” to say that I like keeping a clean and organized home.

The reality is more often that I like my home clean and organized because I like control.

I also am often too concerned about my image, and then my house becomes an idol to my image.

I have had the privilege all summer long to have lots of guests into my house.  When I know company is coming, I run around cleaning my house until it sparkles.  I want it to look as “perfect” as it can look with seven people living in it.

Sometimes in the process of cleaning, I forget that it’s more important about having a welcoming heart than an attractive home.

God always has a way of gently correcting my heart and attitudes and revealing their true condition.  There’s no pretense with Him.

One of my dear friends recently visited me, and I mentioned to her that I have had to come to accept that with five children, my life isn’t going to be the pretty little package, all under wraps, tied up with a pretty bow, like I would prefer.

She said so eloquently, something along the lines of, “Love is messy.”

Love requires us to get messy. 

To truly love others, we have to be willing to get messy ourselves.  We have to be wiling to be transparent and to welcome them into our own messy lives.  We have to be willing to accept people in all of their disheveled, messy state of brokenness.

God has been working on teaching me that life is messy, and grace is sometimes best seen in the messiness of life.

I love the following quotes from the book, Glimpses of Grace, by Gloria Furman:

…controlling my circumstances wouldn’t fill the void in my soul.  You can’t organize your way into communion with God.

I forget that homemaking is not primarily about my personality; it is primarily to adorn the Gospel…

For many of us homemakers, our greatest fear is in being found incompetent, insufficient, and ineffective.  We prefer to look like we’ve got it all together.  We give lip service to the idea that nobody’s perfect, but we would rather die trying to prove that we’re the exception to the rule.

God chooses to use the weak and broken to show himself to be strong and sufficient.

If you struggle with developing close relationships with others, perhaps you struggle with the same problem of making your image an idol.

When we live for our own “glory” or image, we are incapable of allowing people into the vulnerable and messy places of our lives.

I love this quote from Glimpses of Grace in regards to this:

Perhaps our relationships are terminally casual because we’re not willing to disclose what’s at the heart level.

  1. Maybe we’re unsure of how we are really doing.
  2. Maybe, we’re not willing to hear from others.
  3. Maybe, we’re afraid of the truth.
  4. Maybe, we’re insecure because we’ve been burned in the past.
  5. Maybe, we’re just ignorant to the beauty of self-disclosure shared for the sake of the Gospel.
  6. Maybe, we’d rather cling to our own assumptions of others.

What’s the solution to letting go of our false need for control and pride in holding onto false pretenses?

The solution is knowing the truth about who we are in Christ and knowing the truth of Who God is.

The Gospel isn’t just giving us a fresh slate to try to get things right again.  The Gospel means that Jesus not only met God’s justice on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins, but that He also exchanged our “rags” of sinfulness for Jesus’ righteousness.  This is our means of redemption and transformation!

Glimpses of Grace says this as well:

Jesus faced our sin and our enemy and determined to remain on the cross until our debt for every last sin was paid in full.  He nailed the record of condemnation against us to the cross in triumph!

The gospel inspires in us a willingness to cede control to God over the image we are trying to portray through our lives in the home.  Through Jesus, we can be most concerned with imaging God and being conformed to His image.  Because of the gospel, we can run away from any Magic Mirrorgate, rejoicing in who God is instead of devastated by who we are.

When we are unwilling to be honest and authentic with others, we must ask ourselves whether we have the proper view of God and of our position in Him.

Glimpses of Grace said, “Don’t be a victim of identity theft. .. everything God has for you is grace upon grace because of what Jesus has done for you.  …Your image is not really about you but about Him.”

One last quote, because I love the way God welcomes us into His heart and family — even in our disheveled, messy sinful state:

“Part of your image bearing and image conforming is experiencing the joy of making God your treasured possession, as He has made you His.” (From Glimpses of Grace)

Advertisements

Freedom From Shame — When The Hardest Person To Forgive Is Yourself

(http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=987163&searchId=d5aa1729c8c253e5d917a5264855eab8&npos=317)

Shame.

It debilitates.  It chains us to the past, chokes our ability to live fully in the present, and suppresses our hope for the future.  It causes us to hide, to avoid.  It tells us that we are the past — that we are and will always be what we did wrongfully in the past or what was done wrongfully to us.  It tells us that we will never be more than the lie.

If you have ever felt those waves of guilt and remorse sweep over you — those feelings of regret and wishing you could take back those words, attitudes, or actions — then this is for you.

If you have felt like you will always be unloved, a failure, wounded, the person of your past, then this is for you.

“When we experience shame over our sin, our natural tendency is to hide from others.  We shut people out of our lives, we avoid praying or Bible reading, and we cover up the evidence of our sin … We hide because we feel shame … Shame tells us to hide, but joy spills out in praise to God for His salvation.” (Glimpses of Grace)

How can we be free from shame?

What methods are we using to try to free ourselves from our feelings of guilt, shame, condemnation?  Are we using self-justification, shifting blame to others, or wallowing in self-pity?

Here’s a powerful and insightful comment in regards to shame:

We will be free from the controlling effect of shame only when we are repenting of our efforts to cleanse ourselves and rejoicing in the saving blood of Christ instead. (Glimpses of Grace)

We often are not experiencing freedom from the past because we are looking to ourselves to cleanse and free ourselves.  It’s like trying to use a dirty rag to clean another dirty cloth, or it’s like asking a blind person to describe to another blind person what they are seeing.  These may not be the best analogies, but perhaps the point is made…

Jesus alone has the power to free us from our shame because He has the power to forgive sins, and He did that when He died on the cross.  Sin was defeated at the cross.

Here’s the truth in regards to our sins and shameful past and guilt-ridden present:

  • “By God’s grace, He is triumphant even over your hopelessness, cynicism, and doubt.”  (Glimpses of Grace)
  • “God in His grace invites us to be continually repenting of our sins and rejoicing in Christ’s provision of righteousness for us.” (Glimpses of Grace)
  • “God’s commitment to save those who believe in Him is to His glory.” (Glimpses of GraceOur sanctification is based on God’s commitment to His own infallible attributes — not our own inabilities to save ourselves.  Our sanctification has always been God’s work of salvation and grace — not our own.  He will be faithful to complete that which He started.
  • “God will not hold sins against you that He has held onto His Son’s dying body on the cross.” (Glimpses of Grace

John 8:36

36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient to forgive you from your sins and to free you from the penalty of your sins.  His death on the cross was the final payment for our sins.

When we carry the burden of shame, we live as though we are not completely forgiven. 

When we live as though we are not completely forgiven, we live as though we do not believe that Jesus’ death on the cross didn’t just pay for the penalty of our sins but also frees us from the strongholds of sin in our lives today. 

Jesus didn’t just come to save us for eternal life.  He came to give us His new life today.  He came to change our present and our future.

In order to be changed, you must believe the truth — that you are set free, that He did overcome, that the cross was enough, that His Holy Spirit living in you is enough (more than enough).

‘Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.  Behold, I will do something new.’ (Isa. 43:18-19).  The Lord reminded me that He seeks to deliver me from the guilt of the past and move me toward the promise of the future.  His goal is never to bring guilt and condemnation by continually reminding me of the my past sins but rather to bring healing and obedience by turning my attention to my future with Him. (Discerning The Voice Of God)

God doesn’t point out our sin to condemn us.  God’s purpose in lovingly revealing our sin is to encourage us to acknowledge it and confess it so He can change us.  The Enemy’s voice brings condemnation…  The Holy Spirit brings conviction that always provides a road map out and away from a specific sin.  His aim is to lovingly steer us in the direction of His grace.

He reveals our sins to lead us to repentance, but his revelation is buffered with the hope of His grace, love, and another chance.  He has already undergone the punishment for our sin once and for all on the cross.” (Discerning The Voice Of God)

I love that quote:

His aim is to lovingly steer us in the direction of His grace.

Jesus’ forgiveness has never been based on your abilities or inabilities, your worthiness or unworthiness.  His love and forgiveness is based on the perfection of His love, grace, and complete work of salvation.

The purpose of the voice of condemnation is to push you away from His presence — that which is the very source of your victory.  The purpose of the voice of conviction is to press you into the face of Christ.  (Bob Sorge — quote taken from Discerning The Voice Of God)

Wow!  Let me repeat that last line…

“The purpose of the voice of conviction is to press you into the face of Christ.”  (Bob Sorge — quote taken from Discerning The Voice Of God)

Psalm 103:12

12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

If you have asked Him for forgiveness, you are forgiven!

When God forgives you, He sets you free from that sin.  Believe it!

What God says, is.  

Here’s His final authority on the matter:

Romans 8:31-39

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Am I Narcissistic?

No idea what the ladies was like, but I just thought these were more or less the coolest sinks I've ever seen.

(http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=47486&searchId=fbe322a89bc0ba531c3f0050e3935f28&npos=134)

When you see narcissism in the title of an article, does it immediately attract your attention?  Do you wonder if perhaps you might have those tendencies?  Maybe because someone, something, your conscience, God has prompted this awareness that perhaps there might be something to it in relation to you.

The definition for “narcissism” is the following:

nar·cis·sism
ˈnärsəˌsizəm/
noun
noun: narcissism
  1. excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.
    synonyms: vanity, self-love, self-admiration, self-absorption, self-obsession, conceit, self-centeredness, self-regard, egotism, egoism

    “his emotional development was hindered by his mother’s narcissism”
    antonyms: modesty
    • Psychology
      extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
    • Psychoanalysis
      self-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.

Narcissism is an extreme form of self-absorption and self-obsession.  It is classified as an actual personality disorder: NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).

Selfishness though is what leads to the downward spiral into narcissism.  Selfishness is something towards which all humans have a tendency.  What is “selfishness”?  According to dictionary.com, it is the following:

[sel-fish]
adjective

1.

devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

2.

characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself:

selfish motives.

Narcissism isn’t a word that any of us want to have associated with us.  Yet, I believe its main cause, selfishness, is something that all of us can struggle with at times — some on a large scale and then others perhaps on a lesser scale.

When we look at our motives, truly look at them — why we do the things we do — we find that often our actions are prompted more for self-gratification, avoidance of that which would “hurt” ourselves, escape, self-fulfillment. 

Even our “love” can be very self-motivated. That’s why when our relationships start requiring more work then pleasure, interactions become “ugly”.

Our parenting can be motivated out of what we “get” from our kids — the fulfillment they give us.

Watch out though when those “sweet” little cuties rebel or publicly act in a way that brings humiliation.  Watch out when there is more work involved then self-gratification.  That’s when we see our true motives and heart revealed.

God has a way of gently convicting me when self begins to take precedence.  It’s always humbling to see the ugliness of ulterior motives, the insincerity of prideful accomplishments, the judgmentalism of self-centered “righteousness” and religion.

A lot of “good” things can be accomplished with nice-sounding labels but with a heart that is full of selfishness at its core.  Because these things are “good” things they may look attractive, receive approval, and even appear to be blessed for a time.

But the things “sown” in the flesh will ultimately reap fleshly results.

Self-centered religion does not glorify God.  It seeks to glorify self, to establish self as the god who is “good enough”, a “moral” citizen, accepted by all.

The truth is we have no merits, no true righteousness, no pure motives, no sacrificial love, no selflessness, except in Christ.

It is impossible to not seek to please or worship self without the all-consuming Gospel power of grace.

It is Christ alone and His grace at work in our lives that convicts and compels us to look outside of self, to serve in joyful abandonment of self, and to find the freedom that comes when we are no longer chained to the all-consuming ugliness of the god of self.

We can do all kinds of things to attempt to avoid being consumed by narcissism.  We can fool ourselves into thinking we are selfless when we do good works, but if we do them to avoid confronting the true state of our hearts, then self is still our god.

It is God alone who can reveal the true intentions of our hearts.  His Word and Spirit have a way of “cutting” through the pretty words, the artificial works, the commercial-worthy smiles, the accolades, the religious phrases to the true conditions of our hearts.

In a time-suspending, illuminating moment, God has a way of removing our blinders.  He does it not to shame us but to bring us into freedom — freedom from the imprisoning, debilitating clutches of self. 

Freedom from self enables us to serve others with sincerity.  Freedom from self frees us from preoccupation with our own needs, hurts, goals, passions in order to be able to truly see the hearts, wounds, needs of others.  Freedom from self humbles us enough to be able to respond to others with forgiveness and grace.  Freedom from self gives us the courage to do what is right rather than to live in fear of others.

As humbling and convicting as it may be, let’s allow God’s Spirit to remove our “blinders” and to purify our hearts so that we can be free to live a life that is God-centered and not self-centered.

A Date With My Son

IMG_2935

We were months “late” on our promised date, but the time had finally arrived.

The weather was absolutely perfect: very low humidity, if any.  Sunny, blue skies and white, fluffy clouds.  Highs around 80.  It was the kind of day that was perfect for being on a lake or going to the ocean.

I suggested to my date that we paddle-boat at a lake in the area.

We grabbed my date’s favorite meal at McDonalds and then headed to the lake.

Once situated in our boat with life-vests, we began to paddle out from the inlet into the wide-expanse of the lake.  Our attempts to paddle to the right met with a lot of resistance so we steered instead to the left.

We took several “selfies” of us on the lake.  My favorites were of the sun glinting in the natural highlights of his hair, his head resting on his folded arms behind him, his big grins, the lake sparkling in the sunlight, and of the two of us together with wind-blown hair, smiling happily.

My favorite moments were when we were paddling furiously back to the inlet to return our boat in time to pick up kids and realized that we had to paddle against the current to return to the inlet.  At one point, I wondered if we were going to make it back or run out of steam.  My legs were burning, and we were paddling furiously but making little progress.  It was then my date said, “It’s a good thing you have me along because I have lots of energy to burn.”  Oh the delightful richness of laughter…!

Another great memory was of us splashing each other while we made it back into the inlet, all hot and steamy from our furious paddling.  There was so much sweetness in those moments — simple fun on the lake, physical exertion, candid conversation while we paddled out to the large expanse of the lake, enjoying the beauty together, working together to return to shore, laughter, and happy play as we splashed each other.

My date didn’t say a lot, but what he did and the look of contentment on his face told me everything I wanted to know: he’d enjoyed himself and enjoyed our time together.

We don’t get these times of uninterrupted one-on-one time together very often, but I am thankful for when we do.

I can’t freeze time, but forever in my heart will be these memories, framed in the love I hold for the precious people in my life.

Thanks, Son, for sharing a special day with me!  Thanks for helping us get back to the shore!  Thanks for your beautiful heart and your desire to do what’s right and good!  Thanks for the laughs and splashes!  Thanks, Son, for helping to make this journey of life so rewarding!

I love you!

Is It Fear God Versus Love God?

<b>Happy Eid to you, this is my gift (عيدي) for you :)</b>

We didn't pick that lovely rose. She just held it between her hands (huged it!) and I shoot this for you!

---------------------------------------------------...

(http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=2095855&searchId=b5c0b187fe309af0f4d35982fd961d7e&npos=5)

There seem to be two camps of thought when it comes to God: those who focus on the fear of God and those who focus on the love of God.

Is it possible though to have both the fear of God and the love of God?  Or are they mutually exclusive of each other?

Does fearing God contradict loving God?  And does God’s love contradict His justice?

When it comes to loyalty to God, which of these two (the fear of God or the love of God) produces unwavering loyalty?

These are all questions that I have been mulling over for several weeks, probably years really.

First of all, is there a Biblical basis for the fear of God?  If so, what does the Bible mean when it says “fear God”?

Exodus 20:20

20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

Leviticus 19:14

14 Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling-block before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the Lord.

Proverbs 2:1-5

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

Luke 5:26

26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

2 Corinthians 7:1

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Hebrews 12:28

28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

In the above Scriptural passages, we can see that “fear of God” is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments.

What exactly is this “fear of God”?

Psalm 22:23

23 You who fear the Lord, praise Him;
All you [a]descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And stand in awe of Him, all you [b]descendants of Israel.

Psalm 33:8-11

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it [a]stood fast.
10 The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

Psalm 119:120

120 My flesh trembles in fear of you;
    I stand in awe of your laws.

These passages show us that fearing God is being awe-struck with His character.  I love what the book, Freedom From Fear, says about the fear of God:

To fear God is to be awestruck with God’s character and Word.  It is a state of deep reverence that can cause us to tremble before Him because of His righteous judgments.  The fear of the Lord is also joyful praise and worship of His glory, resulting in humble obedience to His will.

Fearing God is not a law-based principle, but rather, it is an eternally enduring aspect of our relationship to God.

…in the hearts of those who fear Him there is an unspoken language of faith, a bowing down with humility before One infinitely greater and more magnificent than self.

The sheer magnitude of His glory and greatness does not diminish over time.  Familiarity does not breed contempt of the Almighty.

We revere God in the sense that we have the ultimate respect for Him…  We also fear God because He has the power to judge and His attributes make Him the only legitimate fear object (He is both omnipresent and omnipotent).  This healthy and balanced knowledge of God provides for us a sanctuary from all unhealthy fears.

Scripture is also replete with verses, stating God’s love and revealing His mercy, grace, longsuffering, kindness, forgiveness.

Is God’s justice in opposition to His grace, or do they work in coordination with each other?  In my blog, https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/grace.  In this blog, a key phrase is “God’s grace can only be understood in the context of His justice.”  The question is asked, “What is grace without justice?”  Grace implies that justice was required and necessary.

The book, Freedom From Fear, states this: “…the hammer fell!  It fell on Christ.  The punishment we deserved has already fallen on Christ.”

We fear or reverence God because of both His holiness, justice, and because of His undeserving grace and tender mercies. 

Loving God and fearing God work in coordination to reflect the perfection of both God’s holinesss that requires justice and of His love that offers grace and forgiveness. 

The following Scriptural passages reflect both the fear or reverence of God and the mercies of God — all within the same verses:

Psalm 103:11

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;

Psalm 103:13

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

Psalm 118:4

Let those who fear the Lord say:
    His love endures forever.

Psalm 147:11

11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.

 It is reverence (“fear of God”) and love for God that purifies our lives, propels us to submit to Him, impassions us to yearn after Him and to follow Him. 

It is the recognition of how awe-inspiring He is and then that He would love us that causes us to be amazed with Him!  It is this awe and this love that compels us to follow Him in faith.  This is the foundation of loyalty.  This is the reason why generations of Christians have suffered horrific persecution out of loyalty and love for the One Who died to save them and who continues to be their All.

When our eyes are opened to God as He truly is, nothing else really matters.  Running to Him as the holy, forgiving, loving sanctuary that He is becomes an all-consuming passion and priority.  Pride, guilt, shame, and fear are swept clean by the fear of God and replaced with humility, forgiveness, affirmation, and faith.  All this happens when we have a truth encounter with the living God. (From Freedom From Fear)

How does “fearing God” actually offer us the peace and protection we all need and desire?

Here’s what Freedom From Fear says on this:

A sanctuary was the place where God manifested His presence to His people.  It was a holy place of communion with the Almighty … His presence would always be a sanctuary for His people.  …The fear of the Lord was the door that opened that sanctuary, which is not a physical location or building at all.  It is the presence of God!  New Testament believers find their sanctuary in Christ, which is a spiritual position, not a physical location.

Why do so many of us react to God’s Presence or His holiness with a type of fear that cripples and enslaves?  Could it be that it’s our response to God that produces two very different types of “fear”?

When we are made aware of our own sins and of His justice and righteousness, we can react in two different ways:

  • We can understand that God is a good and loving God — that seeks to purify us from all that would harm us, and we can run to Him.  The right kind of “fear” or awe causes us to run towards God, understanding the freeing power of His love that seeks to purify us from all that enslaves and cripples us.
  • The other response is not believing God is good in every sense and loving; and so instead, we run away from Him. The wrong kind of fear causes us to hide, to rebel, to follow after all the things that actually harm us rather than free us.

We are most tempted to run from God when we feel dirty or defiled, but that is the time when we need Him the most … It was God who first came to Adam after the fall, and it is God who takes the initiative to come to uswe are saints in the hands of a loving God, Therefore, “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (From Freedom From Fear)

The answer to fearing God and loving God is that it takes both. 

God’s love was manifested in how He fulfilled His justice on the cross.  His love and grace is what continues to seek after us and draw us to Himself.  His righteousness is what purifies us and offers us freedom.

It is all of this plus more that causes us to stand in awe of Him and to surrender to a God who is completely trustworthy because He can offer us a true sanctuary that is free from all that is destructive to us.

As Christians, we can stand in awe of God but not from afar.  We stand in awe of Him because we know personally the security of being in His Presence.  It is with joy, we follow Him and look to Him for our all!

Shalom!

One view of the wonderful Risco Bello garden in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife.

(http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=3320263&searchId=6cad826248cd3f4e93da71e7b49928e3&npos=311)

If you are struggling with any fears, any difficult circumstances, any tragedies, any suffering, any loss, with life, then this is for you.

I picked up the book, The Names Of God, this morning and read the chapter on Shalom.  Some of the stuff I already knew, but there were new lessons, challenges, and encouragement that I gleaned from this study today.

What a marvelous word Shalom is!  I believe it will strengthen your heart as it has mine.

There are several meanings to the word, Shalom.

Shalom means:

  • Shalom means whole.

…you are whole when God’s peace reigns in your heart. (Names of God by Marilyn Hickey)

  • Shalom means full.

You are full, lacking nothing in Christ Jesus. (Names of God by Marilyn Hickey)

  • Shalom means to pay or render.

Peace is God’s payment that says, “I don’t have to worry about the future, because I know that His Word has paid for my provision.” (Names of God by Marilyn Hickey)

  • Shalom means peace in the perfect sense.

…peace in the most perfect way imaginable. (Names of God by Marilyn Hickey)

  • Shalom means in Greek eireneEirene means to live in the fullness of life.

…it means “to live life at its best.”  It doesn’t just mean “not having a fight.”  What is your life like now?  Is it full of Jehovah Shalom’s peace? (Names of God by Marilyn Hickey)

From where does this Shalom come?

Shalom comes from the God of Peace — from Jehovah Shalom Himself.

When Jesus was born, the angels declared, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

Peace Himself came and dwelt in the body of man, was crucified, and rose from the dead so that you could have His peace.  Jesus told many people whom He healed, “Go in peace.”  (Names of God by Marilyn Hickey)

How do we obtain this Shalom?

  • In order to have the true sense of peace/shalom, it means that one must have wholeness of spirit and soul. This can only come from the One Who heals our bodies, souls, and spirits — God Himself, the God of Peace.
  • It means one must have the fullness of Shalom indwelling within. His Holy Spirit indwells all true Believers (those who have received Jesus as their Savior).
  • It means that payment was rendered (Jesus’ death on the cross) so that God’s full provision of peace can be received.  It means one must believe and accept this gift, turning to God and acknowledging Him as your God.

True Peace or Shalom is only understood and experienced by those who have accepted Christ’s Lordship over their lives.  Yet, so many Christians don’t walk in this or live lives that are “peaceful.”

The reason why so many Christians aren’t living lives of true peace is because they don’t understand some of the following truths:

  • You need to believe that, as a Christian, your heritage is shalom/peace.
  • You are guaranteed shalom, but you have to “own” it or claim it.
  • You have to be “single-minded.”  (Can’t serve God and the world; the world does not understand true peace nor offer it — just a shoddy representation.)
  • You have to let God’s peace keep you.
  • You have to keep your eyes on your God rather than on your “giants.”
  • You have to believe God’s Word and act in faith, trusting in His promises — no matter the current state of your affairs.
  • You have to look to your Source of Peace: it is Jesus inside of you — not circumstances or people outside of you.
  • You have to let Jesus’ peace, love, and joy flow through you.

What does God want His Shalom to look like in our lives?

  • He wants His Shalom to “flow” abundantly through our lives “so that it resembles a great flowing river.” (Names of God by Marilyn Hickey)

David said in Psalm 16:6 that it is your heritage to have peace.  The Lord will bless His people with peace.  Peace is our blessing, and it is for every possible situation.  How do I know that?  The word blessing is always used in the plural form.  God cannot give you a singular blessing.  He is a God of many blessingsEl Shaddai. (Names of God by Marilyn Hickey)

Isaiah 66:12

12 For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.

  • He wants it to look like Himself because true peace comes because and through Jehovah Shalom, who is inside of us.
  • He wants us to not worry about the future because He has paid for our provision.  That’s what the to pay or render version of Shalom means.
  • He wants us to assume upon its Presence and influence in our lives because it is our heritage as His children.
  • He wants it to be the originator, the mediator, and the “plaster” of our relationships with others.

When you are full of peace, you’ll have peaceful relationships.  Contention takes two people; peace takes only one person.  When you let Jesus’ peace, love, and joy flow out, there can’t be any strife. (Names of God by Marilyn Hickey)

  • He wants it to transform our living so that our life is profuse with an exuberant overflow of all that is synonymous with true life (His Spirit supplying life to our spirits, which in turn transforms our souls and then affects our bodies).  This type of life cannot be understood in just physical terms.  It is a “wholeness” of life that comes from all three aspects of who we are (spirit, soul, and body) being engaged, transformed, and empowered by His Life — the Creator of Life.
  • He wants our emotions to be yielded to Him so that peace rather than worry is the expression of our emotions.

He wants you to know that He is in control  “Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”  (Is. 26:3) (Names of God by Marilyn Hickey)

  • He wants us to have a “quiet” spirit — a soul surrendered to the God of Peace.
  • He wants us to be “unshaken” so that our “enemies” are put to shame.
  • He wants us to have peace in all circumstances.
  • He wants us to have peace with Himself, which is the foundation of our peace.
  • He wants it to be our message that we bring to others.  Ephesians 6:15 says that our feet are to be “shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.”  Shalom means wholeness, completeness, fullness, a paid provision.

Why is the Gospel a “Gospel of peace”?

  • The Gospel message that we are to share is the message that brings true wholeness, completeness, fullness, and redemption to the receiver.
  • The Gospel restores our broken relationship with our Abba Father, which brings peace between God and ourselves.
  • The Gospel unites our spirits to God’s Spirit, which transforms our souls.
  • The Gospel connects us to our Source of Peace: Jehovah Shalom.
  • The Gospel gives us direction to pursue that which produces peace.
  • The Gospel “heals” our complete selves: spirits, souls, and bodies.
  • The Gospel produces His righteousness within us, which is accompanied by peace.  Peace is an out-flowing of righteousness.
  • The Gospel promises victory because victory was won at the cross.

Wow!  So much wonderful encouragement and truth when we consider the awesomeness of our God and the richness of what He offers and seeks to produce in us!

The Shalom that God offers supersedes all inferior imitations of peace.