Blessed are the peacemakers

peacemakers

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”  Matthew 5:9

I asked the Lord what he meant by that on my early morning walk today.  

First, he gave me a scripture; God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”  Colossians 1:20.

The Lord explained that he was the first peace maker; and when we become his sons and daughters, we become his peace makers.  He reminded me what I’d done with my mother last year.  We never had a good relationship.  But he saw her differently from me.

Here’s my story about making peace.

Shepherds call

Seven years passed.  Healed from the hurt of the past, Joanna went from strength to strength.  But she still had bad memories from her childhood.

One day her mother grew seriously ill.  Joanna approached the Lord, concerned about her mother’s salvation.

“Father, it’s up to you whether she’ll pull through this time. I forgive my mother for all the abuse she heaped on us. She wasn’t able to be a good mother because she was abandoned at the age of three.

Is her name written in your book, the book of life?  She believes in you – but she doesn’t know you. I want to be able to bring her to you, but I can’t reach her. I can hardly go through the four spiritual laws, or walk her down the Roman road.  Lord, how can I get her to trust you? You promised that if we lack wisdom, we should ask. I’m asking.”

albrecht_schenck_shepherd_call

Shepherd’s Call, by Albrecht Schenck

“I will come to her,” He replied, pointing to a painting that her mother used to have; a vintage 1900’s painting called ‘Shepherd’s call’ which depicted a collie barking for the shepherd after finding a lost lamb in the snow.

“Talk about that painting. Ask her who the dog is barking for, and then bring me in. I want her to know she is the lamb …”

“What a brilliant idea. I’d never have thought of that,” Joann replied, impressed. “But I don’t want religion getting in the way. What should I do if it does?”

The Lord gave her an answer for that.

Later Joanna sat at her mother’s side, alone.

“You know that painting of the dog and the lamb you had?” she began.

“Yes, I gave it away,” her mother replied.

“Yes, you did. Remember that lost lamb?”

“The lamb didn’t have a mother,” her mother recalled.

“Yes, that’s right Mum, she didn’t have a mother,” Joanna replied, sad.

“The Lord said for me to tell you that you are that lamb” she said, as soon as she’d gathered her composure.

Tears came to her mother’s eyes.

“Who was the dog barking for?” Joanna asked.

“The shepherd,” her mother eventually answered.

“Did you know the Lord is the Shepherd?” Joanna replied.

More tears came.

Just as Joanna had foreseen, Joanna’s mother talked about religion.

“Mum, do you know what the Bible says true religion is?” Joanna responded.

Her mother shook her head.

“True religion is to take care of widows and orphans,” Joanna replied, giving the answer the Lord had given her.

“I’m a widow,” her mother said.

“That’s right, you are a widow,” Joanna replied, impressed at the Lord’s answer.

“Who is the Lord to you?” Joanna cautiously asked, feeling like the Collie.

Her mother was silent.

“Are you afraid of death?” Joanna asked.

“Yes, I’m afraid of the devil – I don’t want to see him,” she replied.

Joanna introduced the Shepherd.

“Mum, Jesus tends his flock like a shepherd. He looks for lost lambs and he saves them. He wants to carry you in his arms, close to his heart,” she added.

“Who would you like him to be?” she asked, watching her mother’s face.

“My protector,” her mother replied.

“Like a saviour?” Joanna asked.

“Yes,” her mother agreed.

“Do you accept him as your saviour?” Joanna asked.

“Yes,” her mother replied, with childlike faith.

“You are saved,” Joanna told her, relieved to see the lamb now cradled in the Shepherd’s arms.

“Now that you have accepted Jesus as your saviour, you need fear no evil in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The Lord is your Shepherd, and his rod and staff will comfort you,” Joanna reassured her, remembering her own staff.

That was as much as she could do.

Outside, a piece of rainbow shone out from clouds above the Ruahine mountain range.

That night, her mother sang.

Kingdom authority

Kingdom AuthorityLaughing I’d sprung up onto the horses back, waiting for my brother to sit behind me.  What a happy day, the day my father bought us the horse; a gleaming chocolate-brown mare called Lady.  I couldn’t wait to learn how to ride her.  Being the eldest I got to sit in front and hold the reins.  Unfortunately the joy didn’t last.

EPSON MFP image

The day we got Lady

The help’s children heard about the horse as soon as their mother got home.  They arrived the next day, all four of them.  I can still see them crossing the creek and running over the paddocks to our place.  I was a timid seven-year old and no match for them.  They were older, aggressive and mean – with a huge sense of entitlement.  The reins were snatched out of my hands as the usurpers helped each other onto her back.  I was left standing by the gate in tears, watching them ride our horse.

It was no good going to my mother.  She had her own problems – bipolar illness and a big family.  The big family wasn’t entirely her fault – after me and my brother were born she had two sets of twin girls.  After the birth of the last set of twins, she was completely unable to cope with us.  I’m not going to go there with the bipolar thing.  All I will say is the day the horse arrived is my only happy memory from that time.

My father hired Miriam, a woman of Samoan/Maori blood to help my mother in the house.  I know we got her and her family the same year as the horse.  I didn’t know Miriam was the help.  I thought she was a friend of my mother and her children were our “friends”, even though they seemed to look down on us.  I foolishly trusted her as an Aunty.  I didn’t know it as a child, but Miriam despised me because in her words “I was always crying”.

There is a proverb which says “A shrewd servant will gain authority over a master’s worthless son and receive a part of the inheritance.” Proverbs 17:2

I went into the house to ask the adults for help.  They told me I had to “share”.  Hearing this and knowing I had no authority as the daughter of the house, Miriam’s children sneered at me and assumed ownership of the horse.  At first I cried and became a victim – but I was a determined little kid.  I wrested control from them after I worked out how to bridle the horse, jump on her back and ride across the paddocks to my grandparent’s place.  I did this until they got the message about who the horse belonged to.

Still I felt worthless and powerless.  I wasn’t allowed to have boundaries.  I lost faith in people and felt I had no one to turn to.  Parents who don’t give their children boundaries send them defenseless into a world full of controlling manipulative people.

So how does this relate to the Kingdom of God?  What would Jesus have done?  He would have put the smallest children on the horse’s back first.  The children of the servant would have had to ask permission to ride.  If we had said yes they would have had to wait their turn.  The Lord is a firm believer in boundaries and treating people with respect.  Boundaries were the first things He helped me construct when He became my King.

https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/chapter-21-stones/
https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/chapter-23-rebuilding-the-wall/
https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/chapter-39-mercy-not-sacrifice/

He gives power to the faint; 
and to them that have no might 
he increases strength.  
Isaiah 40:29.

God will help us in our weakness if we recognise His authority.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
for theirs is the kingdom.  
Matthew 5:3

There was once a powerful man who recognised his own sin and helplessness.  This man, a roman centurion, saw Jesus and recognised His authority;

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”  Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.  I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.”  Matthew 8:9

The Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.  We haven’t been left as orphans.  Jesus has given us his authority.  We need to know our authority as sons and daughters of the King and walk in it.

I’ll leave you with a clip of some beautiful horses responding to their master’s authority.  These horses were originally bred as “war horses” in the days of knights and armor.  As armor got heavier, bigger horses were needed and the Friesian almost became extinct.  They are back, and are one of the most beautiful horses in stature as well as gait.   These horses are native to the Netherlands.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/Y5XJbSqwriM?rel=0

1-corinthians-42021_5009_1600x1200

May you find your joy in the LORD, and may He cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land … (Isaiah 58:14).

Run

What is the Kingdom of God like?

The Kingdom of God is likeThe Kingdom of God is like a teacher and a pastor who became a truck driver …

God now has him on the road, searching for the lost.
He said;
“Truck driving is like life in a microcosm, you see people at their best, you see them at their worst.”

He found that God is alive and well outside the walls of the church.  He had to adopt the attitude that the joy is the journey, not the destination.

These are some of the other things he said;
“God is present out here … working.  He is everywhere.”
“It’s not about where you are or what you are doing, the Kingdom of God is about getting in touch with God right here and now … 24-7.”

As he rested he wondered what fellow travellers the Father would bring across his path that day.  God spends much of His time outside of the religious institutions – just like His Son did.  “I guess it runs in the family.”

Flying blind?

777Come fly with me.  I have a clip below called “This is why we fly” – featuring the song “Paradise” by Coldplay. 

It shows the view from the cockpit of a plane flying over the Southern Alps, coming into Queenstown NZ.

Above the clouds, the Morning Star can be seen.  The Morning Star reminds me of Jesus, who said of Himself;
“I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16

The Maori name for New Zealand is ‘Aotearoa’, meaning “land of the long white cloud”.

Winter view over Queenstown from Bob's Peak

Queenstown, NZ

Feeling under a cloud? 
The plane dives into the long white cloud on it’s approach to Queenstown.  Now all we can see is dense cloud.  Surrounded by unseen mountains, it’s time for faith.

Flying blind?
Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. 
Isaiah 50:10

Jesus is like the pilot, and God is like the control tower.

When you can’t see where you are going it’s best to respect the terrain and hand yourself over to the Lord’s guidance.  Respect Him, trust Him and do what He says.

Above the clouds, the morning star shines its light as the sun touches the mountain peaks.  It hasn’t gone away.

In the midst of the clouds, contact is established with air traffic control.

Flying heavy?

‘Life goes on It gets so heavy
The wheel breaks the butterfly
Every tear, a waterfall
In the night, the stormy night
She closed her eyes
In the night, the stormy night
Away she’d fly’
– Paradise, by Coldplay.

The term Heavy is applied to all radio transmissions with air traffic control from aircraft capable of take-off weights of 300,000 pounds or more.

God knows the weight you are carrying.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Here's the clip "This is why we fly". Enjoy.

Paradise

New Zealand is like Paradise, but pales in comparison to Heaven.  Do you know that Paradise is still there, with the tree of life?  Jesus has made the way home to God for all lost children of Adam who believe Him.  Do you know the way to Paradise?  If you trust Jesus for your eternal life He will get you there.  Jesus promised the thief that put his faith in Him; “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Luke 23:43. 

To the overcomer Jesus says;
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.”
Revelation 2:7.

The gift of the Shepherd

The Lord is My ShepherdTired and drained, she stood by the fire inside in her father’s house, trying to get warm, and trying not to look at her father’s empty chair.  The shepherd’s staff leaned in the corner near the chair, unnoticed. 

In the land of the Kingdom, she wearily trudged through the Valley of the Shadow of death, stopping at her father’s house for the sad task of sorting out his belongings.  “One of you girls can take that,” Sally his widow said, suddenly noticing the staff. She recognised it.

“That’s my old crook” she remarked.

“It was down in his workshop,” Sally said, “He’d made it down there the other day, but he was too weak to walk back up the path.  I found him leaning on it, unable to move. It’s yours, please take it.”

Her sisters gave her his car.  As she got the engine running, a thin stream of water shot out of the radiator, landing in an arc on the concrete in front of her sisters.  Sighing, she cracked an egg into the radiator water, praying it would hold until she could get the leak fixed.

Obviously her father had been too ill to maintain the car.  It still had all his stuff in it, the paperback he’d been reading was face down on the seat where he’d left it. Putting the crook in the back of the car with the rest of his stuff, she concentrated on getting the car back to Wanganui.

At home she put the crook in the corner of the room and cried.  It was more than she could cope with. The endless winter days felt like a long, dark valley where she did not laugh and she did not smile.  Again the humble crook stayed unnoticed until finally, the God of all comfort came.

Her tear filled eyes were drawn to the staff.  She noticed it had been varnished.  Mindful of the care taken in its preservation, she asked “Does this crook have some significance?”

The Shepherd replied, giving her some dates, and a number.  “From the day you left Napier on the 4th day of August 1971, to the day of your Father’s death on the 4th day of August 1994, 23 years were written in my book. When your father leaned on the staff, I was there.  Now the time for your father has ended, and you will go on. Read Psalm 23. It will be familiar to you.”

   The Lord is my shepherd,
   I shall not want;
He makes me lie down in green pastures.

   He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness

   for His name’s sake.

  Even though I walk through the valley
   of the shadow of death,
   I will fear no evil;
   for you are with me;
   Your rod and Your staff comfort me.  Psalm 23

Carried back to the place where she had first encountered the Shepherd in the valley, she smiled at him through her tears.  She could see the hills, the sheep, the creek and the quiet pool by the willows. “This is the place where we first met” she said, wiping away her tears as her eyes lingered on the crook, the shepherd’s staff.

Taking the staff in her hands she ran her fingers over the smooth wood, remembering.  The staff had come back to her as a great gift from the Shepherd, and it comforted her.   She wiped her eyes and said “It’s true. Your rod and your staff … comfort me.”

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” the Lord replied. (Matthew 5:4)

The wall

Have you ever encountered an obstacle that seemed unsurmountable?  Its called “hitting the wall.”  What’s been your wall? 

walk the wall

“Walk the wall!” A scene from “An Officer and a Gentleman”

Statistics was the wall I came up against, a paper I had to pass to qualify for a Diploma of Business.  We had four weeks to complete it.  I just couldn’t do it, I hadn’t been able to understand maths since the age of ten.  When I prayed about it, I knew I had to “throw my heart over the bar”.

Years before, I had won a major spiritual battle against bad thoughts.  After I’d got rid of the worry and hate, God wanted me to fill my mind with positive thoughts, so I read a book my Norman Vincent Peale, “The power of positive thinking.”

One of the things Norman Vincent Peale said was this;

Throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow.  Throw your faith over your difficulty, throw your affirmation over every barrier, throw your visualisation over your obstacles.  Fire the heart with where you want to go and what you want to be.  Get it so deeply fixed in your unconscious that you will not take no for an answer, then your entire personality will follow where your heart leads.”     

It reminds me of a scene from the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” that came out in 1982 with the hit song “Up where we belong.”  Anyway, the scene I am talking about is where the only female cadet on the course has a wall she has to scale.  The hero wouldn’t let her give up.  He coached her over the wall; “Walk the wall! Seeger! Seeger, walk! Seeger! Don’t you let go! You walk that wall! Pull! Pull! Pull, Candidate Seeger!”  

Psalm 18-29

Have you ever hit the wall?  If you can’t seem to get over, consult God before you give up.  He will know whether you can do it or not.  He and my husband helped me scale the wall, just like the hero in the movie.

Did I pass Statistics at College?  I did, I never used it in my business – but I have used Statistics in a major revelation about the 153 fish.

Leaving town, for God’s sake

You have a dream job, a great family, and you are happy in the town you are living in.  Would you give it all up, and uproot your family to go and do what the Lord wanted?

choice

I did.  Ten years ago.  It wasn’t easy.  My best friend thought it was a risky move.  Has it been worth it?  Yes.  Was I comfortable doing it?  No, but I have flown higher and gone further than I would have if left in my comfort zone.

Years before, the Lord told me there were two ways I could go. I could choose a hard yet interesting path, where everything I was given would be tested.   Or I could settle down under His protection and still have His blessing.

Why did I do it?  In the Lords prayer, we pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.”  This was something that was God’s will, and I wanted to do it for Him.  And I’d chosen the harder, higher road.

If you have been following my story, the next chapter is the close of my old life.  I had been asked by the Lord to go to a college in a different part of the country to live as an adult student.

At the start of my journey with the Lord I would have lacked the faith to move north and go to College in mid life.  By the time I met and married Isaac, I had learned that God is faithful, and He always has our highest best at heart.  He is worth it.   And there’s a promise in the Bible that God will reward the people He asks to do it;

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.  Matthew 19:29

I hated the town I left for most of the time I lived there.  I hadn’t been born there, my father had moved us into the area when I was twelve.  I’ve had some horrible jobs and relationships in that town, jobs and relationships I put up with because I believed I had no other choice.  It would have been easier to leave if I was still in that situation.  I wasn’t, I had a dream job, good friends and a husband I loved.  It made all the difference to how I saw the place.  The town was no longer a prison, and I was no longer a victim.

There’s a line that Janis Joplin sang in “Me and Bobby McGee”, that goes “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”  That’s not the kind of freedom that Christ gives us.  We are free to choose.  God knows its not a choice when there is nothing to miss or leave behind.

Perhaps you are only free to leave when you are truly happy.

Jesus said “For those the son sets free, are free indeed.  John 8:36″  That’s true.  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” Galations 5:1. 

Before we go, here are some photos of the town I left, the place where I finally found happiness.

 

My house

My house from the Durie Hill Tower

Durie Hill Lift and Tower

The Durie Hill Elevator and Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wanganui panorama