Some blindly look for peace. It's as if they are saying nothing is worth fighting for. Often, they represent that peace can only be obtained at the expense of believing in anything. And, only if we believe in nothing at all can we really be at peace. They don't carry this to the full extent of the theory. If you say believe in nothing, and no conflict, then you can have no prisons. If you insist on peace at any cost, then you must accept a thief breaking into your home and not resist. That is true nonresistance. Only if you would stand and watch your loved ones being attacked without resisting, can you truly say you believe in peace at any cost.
For more about Ray click here: http://www.ted.com/speakers/raul_midon.html
Raul Midon is a guitarist. He plays in a very unconventional, though brilliant style that you can easily appreciate, especially when you realize he is blind. The following video includes his performance of two different songs, but it's the second I am primarily interested in, and it starts around the 4:50 mark. It is the song titled, "Peace on Earth." Listen to the words as you watch his mesmerizing playing.
"Guitarist and singer Raul Midon plays "Everybody" and "Peace on Earth" during his 2007 set at TED. Guitarist and singer Raul Midon blends flamenco, jazz and R&B to create a category-defying sound. His life story is as inspiring as his musical vision."
When you really accept the theory that only non-resistance will bring peace, and only unbelief will bring peace, then you receive the destruction of all your belongings, and the loss of your loved ones, as Jeremiah said.
Jeremiah 8:10-11 Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for everyone from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest everyone deals falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people lightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
If this sounds familiar, it was taken in Patrick Henry's well known saying, "Gentlemen cry Peace, Peace! There is no peace! As for me, give me liberty or give me death!" I don't think the history books tell you the thought was Bible. But, Patrick's uncle was a Parson, and his Dad was a Judge. Raul believes there is no faith to believe in, only peace. He brings up the MAD Doctrine of former Senator McNamara from the 70's, Mutually Assured Destruction, where the superpowers armed themselves to the hilt, hoping to avert a war with the assurance that everybody was well armed. So, in essence, Raul is condemning gun ownership as the equivalent of the past MAD Doctrine. In his opinion, it seems, we should just lay down our guns, and all love one another.
Is he blind, or what?! What part of violence has he not seen? This is a blindness of the heart. Such a one-world peace comes only at the cost of a one-world dictator, and then he would never be able to squelch the revolutions that he would constantly have to deal with. No. There is no peace in politics, or global communities. The only peace comes from within and above. True peace is a product of the heart, not circumstances. And, Raul surely can see this, because he says so in another of his songs called "Sunshine." The only peace that will ever exist in this world will be inside the hearts and souls of mankind, and then only through Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6 So, tell me, how is laying aside our faith going to bring peace?
Have you ever noticed the shadow of a plane on the ground? I have a picture I took of my plane's shadow on the first flight I ever took, in a small Cessna craft. It struck me as touching that I was casting a shadow down below. And, it has been equally inspiring when I have stood on earth, and seen the shadow of a plane above cast about near by. The light has this power, this power to dispel all darkness that it can reach, but not hidden darkness. Similarly, if you want God to shed light on your darkness, then you must bring it to the Light. A shadow is hidden darkness.
Psalms 68:13 Though you have slept among the sheepfolds, yet shall you be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. (NKJV)
Psalms 68:13 Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. (KJV)
It doesn't really matter how your troubles are translated, whether you are lying in darkness or sleeping with sheep. What matters is that the Spirit of God will lift you up on wings of a dove; a dove soaring in the sunlight of God's love. Watch the light flickering and shimmering off of the wings of the dove as he coasts and banks in the Spirit. First in silver and then in rays of gold, the afternoon sun reflects off his wings. Oh, but we are so lucky to fly high above our troubles on the wings of a snow white dove! The peace of God is such a richness that astounds even those of us who are wrapped in His arms.
Now, I will bid you goodnight, so you can close your eyes and dream of the Spirit of God, the sweet Holy Spirit, who will soar through your dreams, and coast in your waking hours, to fill your heart with the love and peace of God... on the wings of a dove.
I slept soundly last night, and dreamed happy dreams. Sleep is precious
when you hit your forties. We get tired. But, I can remember, in the past, times
I have felt restless. Sometimes a sense of restlessness can be so great and
troublesome that we can’t focus our minds on the tasks at hand. Sometimes it can
prevent our sleep as well.
In Hebrews 4:9-11 the writer of Hebrews is preaching a sermon (in the
last half of chapter three and chapter four) using Psalm 95 as his text. David
had mentioned the fact that many of the children of Israel were not allowed to
enter into the “rest” of Canaan Land due to their lack of faith, but died in the
wilderness over their 40 year wanderings. Instead their children entered into
that glorious rest provided by God. He goes on to tie in the fact that god wants
us to receive the rest from our own “good works” where we tried to pay for sins,
and instead allow His blood to cover our sins. Afterall, the Sabbath means
resting from our work.
In Hebrews, it is explained that the Sabbath Day rest of the Jews (work
six days, rest on the seventh) was a shadow or type of God’s rest that is to be
provided to His children. Hebrews is pointing out that because David said
“Today, if you will hear His voice,” then there must be another rest remaining
for the people of God, more than a Sunday nap between services, more than Canaan
Land for the Jews.
This is also shown in the prophetic passage in Isaiah 11:10. We know
that our rest comes from the lord. Psalm 37:7 and Matthew 11:28 points us in the
direction of our most bountiful source of rest and peace here on Earth. Prayer
is the source of peace and strength, our rest in God’s arms.
“At that heavenly sound
My soul, that is sunk in forgetfulness,
Recovers its judgment
And the lost memory
Of its first, exalted origin.
It transverses the ether
Until it reaches the highest sphere,
And there it hears another mode
Of imperishable music,
The first, the source of all.
Here the soul steers
Through a sea of sweetness, and at last
Sinks so deep within,
That it hears or feels
No strange or rare event.
O blessed trance!
O death that gives life! O sweet oblivion!
Could I but remain in your repose
Without being restored
Ever to these low and abject senses!
To this bliss I call you,
Glory of Apollo’s sacred choir,
Friends whom I love
Beyond all treasure,
Since all visible things are sorrowful tears.
Oh, may your music, Salinas,
Sound everlasting in my ears;
Hearing it my senses awaken to God’s goodness,
And all else remain oblivious.”
by Luis de Leon - Ode to Salinas*
* Fragment of a larger poem, which was translated from the Spanish
Salinas was a blind organist who played for the Cathedral of Salamanca,
Spain in the 1500’s. Leon apparently loved to hear Salinas play, and as other
portions of the poem explain, hearing the blind man play about the raptures of
heaven reminded him of how truly “blind” men are who seek only gold to satisfy
themselves here on Earth. The poem is speaking of organ music, a delightful
sound in which it is easy to lose yourself. But, there are parallels here drawn,
in my mind, to prayer.
Where we can turn music on loud enough when we just want to relax at
home, to stop our mind from working, providing a sense of rest sometimes from
troubled thoughts, prayer can give a rest to the restless that unburdens the
mind, body, and soul. The difference is like anesthetic and antiseptic.
Anesthetic numbs pain by dulling the senses, masking the symptoms. Antiseptic
cleanses a wound, allowing healing to take place.
When I can’t take time aside to pray, like while working, music
functions well to turn our thoughts to God. But, when I lay everything aside,
and turn my thoughts to God, focusing on who He is, my mind not only forgets the
details of the day, but wounds actually begin to shrink and heal. Heart pain is
erased in prayer.
In prayer, I can “cross that heavenly sphere,” and sink so deep within
His “sea of sweetness” that I feel nothing. When I hear His voice “sounding
everlastingly in my ears,” my senses die to everything else, external and
internal distractions, and “awaken to God’s goodness” where all else fades in
oblivion. This rest is the greatest peace to be found on Earth.
Hebrews warns us that the disobedience of an unbelieving heart can
prevent us from receiving the rest of God, like in the wilderness of wanderings.
Afterall, if you don’t have faith that God can keep your restless spirit in His
hands, then you won’t bother to pray for peace.
More is included in God’s rest than prayer. Worship also provides that
glorious rest of God, again illustrated by the poem, and experienced in church
services. The Holy Ghost experience is a glorious rest for all who will partake.
The Heavenly City will be our eternal rest. Paul said that eyes have never seen
what God has in store for those who love God. 1 Corinthians 2:9 The peace of God
can surround our restless spirits and give us rest beyond our own understanding.
Philippians 4:7 You know, I can only imagine heaven, but prayer is a bit of
heaven here on Earth, for those who will enter into that rest.
Ephesians 6:23 promises peace to the brethren, and love with faith. This occurs similarily in 1 Timothy 1:14, which says God's grace is abundant with faith and love. Love with faith or faith and love, it definitely shows a coorelation between believing in Jesus and loving one another. Jesus doesn't just ask us to believe in Him, after all. He wants us to love Him and our neighbor.
When these things are hardest to find, that's when God expects us to display them most. I love riding my bike, even though I can't. The inability to ride can not change the fact that I enjoy riding. Some things are lasting, like good memories. The wheels keep turning.
I've added two more poems to the bottom of "The Child Within Me" Page of my Poetry Collection on this website. I haven't written any new poetry in a few years, though I wrote a huge notebook full over a period of 20 years. The two I just added are Peace and Security. I wrote them the summer after I turned 15, just two summers after I met Jesus. Both of them have Scripture allusions.
Psalms 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep:
for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to
kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body
I've also filled up about 20 journals, not counting the very first one I wrote. I finished my first diary (one of those tiny 5 year locking kinds) when I was about 16, and then built a fire in the backyard just to burn it, out of concern that anyone might ever read my words. :) I was really shy. But, I've got past that, and now I just keep them all locked away.
When Jesus came into my life, it drove a lot of fear out of my heart. I don't know how. I had been afraid of the dark even, and was tormented with nightmares almost every night for much of my preteen and early teen years. I would sleep walk often, and many times I woke the whole house up screaming from bad dreams. It was so bad that I became apprehensive about going to sleep at night, because I knew the dreams would return. But, with salvation came safety that could not be provided by people. And, the night terrors left. But, I was never afraid of storms. Storms, after I met Jesus, became a peaceful time when I was reminded that God was more powerful than man; my Father looking over all His children.
I've felt such a sense of peace and safety since, that I even worked security at night for a couple of years, when my boys were young, and I "moonlighted" literally. :) I can remember the glow of my flashlight beam casting across the parking lots, between the parked transfer truck trailers, when I would come out of the vacant plant to make my night rounds. The moonlight was beautiful, and there was this seperate peace in the darkness, because I could see. I had already backslid and divorced by that time, but the fear was gone, because God had removed all the sources of fear from around me, setting me in a safety that reached farther than I had run.
God did that for me. And, I knew that He was my safety. There have been many times I've been aware of angels surrounding me, God's bodyguards. In Genesis 22, we read a strange story of Abraham laying his son on an altar of wood, and raising a knife, when an angel, or perhaps the Spirit of God Himself, cryed out for Abraham to not harm the boy. Imagine the effect this had to have had on his son, Isaac... hearing the angels speak on his behalf from heaven! We don't read much about Isaac, beyond his birth, this scene, his marriage, and the wells he re-dug, and then the focus shifts to his children. But, you know he had to be a changed man; had to always remember that God was watching over him and keeping him safe from harm.
Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh, which means God provided, or the Lord is my Provider. There was an old country song I remember hearing as a child that always reminds me of Jesus.
"You're my bread when I'm hungry.
You're my shelter from troubled winds.
You're my friend when I'm lonely.
And, in the cold, You keep me warm."
I have no idea who sang that song. But, it fits Jehovah-jireh. And, when the nights are dark, He is the beam of light piercing the night... my Security Guard.
I have a pacemaker implant for my bladder. It causes lots of problems. I've had a rough few months, since we've been trying to get it to function for me. We made some new changes 8 days ago, and I am seeing a major improvement in my ability to get around, I am praying for the improvement to continue, and for a return of my strength.
I don't always understand why things happen like they do. I've been majorly disappointed in the way things have gone with all the surgeries. But, there is always the peace in the midst of the storm that keeps me. My family has suffered major financial losses throughout all these surgeries. But, we're still here. People react differently to the situations we are dealing with, in all the different ways my disability affects other people. I have learned that I can not always change how other people see me in this situation. But, I can change how I feel about how they see me. I've acquired this remarkably freeing sense of "so what?!" I believe that no matter what happens, I have a right to live. I refuse to let anyone control how I feel. They can like me, or hate me. None of this changes how I feel.
I see several examples of this in the Bible. The man who was let down through the ceiling to Jesus for healing didn't let the crowd stop him. The lady with an issue of blood pushed through the crowd without fear of how others saw her. There are other examples. But, I believe God has a purpose for our struggles. None of this is beyond reason. Don't ask me to name reasons for my pain, suffering, losses, and rejections. All that I have to name is Jesus. Jesus can reach down in the middle of my situation and pull me out. When He does, everyone is going to see His miraculous ability and love for me and my family. Everyone is going to see the Healer at work. So, hide and watch.
For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring
down high looks. For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten
my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I
leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD
is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God
save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with
strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and
setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of
steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy
salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me
great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.
When God gives me the feet of a deer, I will be running again. You can bet on it!
Luke 12:49-50 I am come to send fire on the earth; and would that it were already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I constrained till it be accomplished!
Yes, the Peacemaker was self-acknowledged to be the source of conflict. Here, Jesus admitted to having ulterior motives for everything He would do during His brief, yet fiery ministry. Nothing that happened during those days of fire and long treks afoot happened merely as coincidence. What appears at casual glance to be a series of vignettes, ultimately layers into the beautiful story of grace. Jesus came with a plan, and He knew the cost before he implemented the first step. That much is apparent in the above verses. Yet, not only did He come to Earth to die, but we are allowed to see His weakness, His trepidation, even His human fear in this candidly honest statement of His mission. Nothing hidden, no secrets to His purposes, but He lays the facts before His friends who had no idea of what those words would hold.
Imagine you were one of the disciples, at that moment. Would you have asked for clarification of that comment? I didn't think so. Neither would I. It just doesn't seem like something you would want to know the meaning of, from their perspective. I mean, think about it. If you have left all to follow Christ, would you want to hear that he was on a mission to die? I think not. Jesus admitted that if He must die to obtain this salvation, so be it...and let's get on with it now. Nothing held back, no posturing or parrying. He admitted this mission would consume not only Himself, but many others with a fire of division and judgment. Then, following right along with his no holds barred mentality, He went a step further and added that this mission would engulf Him. It would swallow all that He is and within this passion he would lose His own being.
I can see that happening. Can't each of us identify something that controls and engulfs us? I have always felt an engulfing passion for teaching, much like Jesus' baptism in these verses. It is an ambition that is larger than me, bigger than my ability to contain. I never really chose teaching...but rather teaching seized hold of me. I was called to the job, and I felt like that was all there was to be. And, when I thought I might not have that dream, I felt like an eagle was perched on my shoulder, with a broken wing, unable to fly. Yet, the dream would not leave. I chafed at the pain of seeing the wounded creature faltering in defeat, and tried desperately to rid myself of the dream, which would not leave. But, oh the majestic joy that filled my heart, until I felt it would explode, when I achieved that dream. Watching the eagle soar fills me with an euphoric sense of pleasure. Make no mistake, I am living my dream with every word that I write. As I have said before, the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. My calling to teach cannot be revoked by anyone. I can't stop teaching. It is who I am. Short of a power failure, or rigor mortis, nothing can silence me. I dare the devil to try. This dare is not because of my own ability or backing, but because of who I am in Jesus Christ. I know who I am.
And, the word of God is something that consumes me, like Jesus' fire. Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like a fire? says the LORD; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Yes, the Word is a hammer and a fire! It pours into my soul, pounding out a cadence and a rhythm, pounding in my temple like a hammer, burning in my heart, pushing me to not only read, read, read, but to write, write, write! Oh that I could consume the Word, for it is consuming me! Ezekiel was instructed to eat the Word, in the form of a little book, in a vision. But the Word, once tasted, begins to eat away inside your heart, like flames of a fire.
I can see why Jesus is called the Living Word... the Logos. The Word makes me alive. It fuels my soul. I feel the life, the living Water, when I drink from the Words of God. I feel thirsty without the Word, as if I have no strength, and perhaps as if I have no God. And, if I read too much, and don't write or speak, it burns within me like a fire that threatens to consume me. I, like the apostles, cannot help but speak the Words that I have read and heard of Jesus.
Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Same, same! Their hearts burned because the Word of God... Jesus Christ...spoke to them. When I open the pages of God's Word, my heart burns within me because His Word is living in me. The odd part is that filling up on the Word brings a peace to my life, like an infusion of sanity. How can something that drives you like fire, fill you with such peace? Oh, but I always try to offer a drink to my guests when they come over. If you're thirsty... Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that
trusts in him.
Walking down a long hallway, (like teachers do most every weekday) you sometimes hear silence, and then a noisy group of kids chattering as you pass a classroom, then silence in the hallway again. Its a passing sound...gone quickly. Or rather a moving from silence to sound...and back to silence. Activity is grouped in different locations. And, so is emptiness. Vacancy.
The book of Revelation intrigues me more than any other book in the Bible. I love the whole book, but quite frankly, Heaven begins in chapter 19...and the begining of the destruction of hell on earth. When I read through chapter 18, then into 19:1, its like rounding that corner in the silent hallway, and walking up on the crowded meeting room to the buzz of activity.
Revelation 19:1 "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:"
There it is...suddenly a great noise. And, it's AFTER. After these things. Those time order words can be so meaningful in a sentence, so full of impact. The sound the crowd is making is not like the sound heard in a concert with a band. It carries more of the ring of victory. The sound is not like a stadium uproar either after a homerun. It holds more adoration. The sound of worship, victory, love, eternal peace, joy, and completion rolled into the energy of the explosion of a star.
Revelation 19:6 "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Hear that? John has the right words...like the sound of heavy rain with mighty thunder, it sounds like a thunderstorm of praise.
It is not a cacophony of discordant sounds. Instead, they all are praising one Lord in unison. It is so unlike anything we've heard of heaven...you know, the floating around bored on clouds bit?! Its not even like a Camp Meeting type worship service because all the praise will be harnessed and directed in one direction toward the throne of God.
That thunderstorm there at the beginning of chapter 19...that's the sound we're waiting for. That's where heaven begins and earth fades away. Listen....